President Donald Trump contradicted the government’s top health experts Wednesday, questioning the CDC director's claim on the effectiveness of protective masks against the coronavirus — which the president recommends but almost never wears. (Sept. 16)
DONALD TRUMP: If this were an administration from the past-- and I think I can say far beyond Obama, if it was other administrations also-- you wouldn't have a vaccine for two and a half, three years. And we're going to have a vaccine within, at most, a couple of months.
Number one, it's not more effective by any means than a vaccine. And I called him about that. Those were the two things I discussed with him. And I believe that if you ask him, he would probably say that he didn't understand the question, because I said to him-- I asked him those two questions, the one question which we covered and the mask question.
On masks, the masks have problems too. And I talked about the masks have to be handled very gently, very carefully. I see that in restaurants, there are people with masks, and they're playing around with their mask, and they have it-- their fingers are in their mask, and then they're serving with plates. I think there's a lot of problems with masks. No, vaccine is much more effective.
But when I called up Robert today, I said to him, what's with the mask? He said, I think I answered that question incorrectly. I think maybe he misunderstood it. You know, you have two questions. Maybe he misunderstood both of them.
But the answer to the one is, it's going to be a much faster distribution than he said. Maybe he's not aware of the distribution process. It's not really his thing as much as it would be, let's say, mine. But the distribution is going to be much faster. As far as the mask is concerned, I hope that the vaccine's going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks.
As far as the mask is concerned, he made a mistake.
- But on the masks, perhaps they are part of the role for the decrease in cases because they are effective, as you just said. So I know you've--
DONALD TRUMP: No, they may be effective. And I wear them when I'm in a hospital or when I'm in a setting with a lot--
- My question is, why not wear it more often or have the White House staff wear it more often to set an example for the country?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm tested, and I'm sometimes surprised when I see somebody sitting-- and like with Joe. Joe feels very safe in a mask. I don't know, maybe he doesn't want to expose his face. I don't know what's going on. He'll be way away from people, nowhere near people. There'll be nobody with him. He doesn't draw any crowds. [? So he'll ?] have circles, these big circles. They'll be way far away. There's no reason for him to have masks on.
We get tested. I'm tested. I have people tested. When people come into the Oval Office, it's like a big deal. No matter who they are, if they're heads of countries, they all get tested. So I'm in sort of a different position.