At the same time, the president appeared to change his tune on face-coverings, telling Fox Business that he’s “all for masks” while boasting about the single time that he was spotted wearing one, claiming he thought he “looked OK” and that he resembled the “Lone Ranger.”
Speaking to Fox Business host Blake Burman from the White House, the president bragged that the economy is recovering in a “very strong fashion” as states reopen businesses and public spaces following stay-at-home orders.
“And I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus,” Trump continued. “I think that at some point, that it’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”
Burman, meanwhile, wondered aloud that Trump “still believes” that the disease will just go away, as he’s asserted many times in the past.
“I do. I do. Yeah,” the president said. “Sure. At some point. I think we will have a vaccine very soon, too.”
Since February, the president has repeatedly assured the public that the virus would “disappear” in the near future. For instance, in early February, the president claimed that it would “go away by April.” Later that month, when the nation’s cases were still in double-digits, he confidently declared that it would be “close to zero” in a couple of days. Even in recent weeks, after deaths had already exceeded 100,000, the president insisted it will fade away even without a vaccine.
Burman eventually moved on to recent studies and models that show that mandatory mask-wearing not only would have a health benefit to the public, but would also be a net positive economically as it would help prevent lockdown. Furthermore, in recent days, some of Trump’s top allies at Fox have urged the president to wear a mask.
“So if there is an economic benefit, sir, and there is a public health benefit, sir, why not go forward and say there should be mandatory masks all across this country?” Burman asked.
Trump replied that he didn’t think a mandatory order was necessary because “many places” in the country feature people living “very long distances” from each other. Then the president, who has openly mocked his political opponents for wearing masks and has avoided publicly wearing face coverings, claimed he was “all for masks.”
“I think masks are good,” he stated, prompting the Fox host to press whether he’d wear one.
“I would—I have. I mean, people have seen me wearing one,” a rambling Trump responded. “If I’m in a group of people where we’re not, you know, ten feet away but usually I’m not in that position and everyone’s tested because I’m the president, they get tested before they see me but if I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely.”
Burman, meanwhile, asked whether the public would see the president wear one at some point. The only instance of the president having been spotted with a face mask occurred during a May trip to a Ford plant, where Trump briefly donned a mask away from the press in a back area while viewing some classic cars.
“I mean, I have no problem. Actually, I had a mask on,” Trump said, referencing the Ford plant moment. “I sort of like the way I looked, OK? I thought it was OK. It was a dark black mask and I thought it looked OK. Looked like the Lone Ranger. But no, I have no problem with that. I think—if people feel good about it they should do it.”
The Lone Ranger, for the record, wore a domino mask over his eyes.