“If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do,” the Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public” to reduce transmission and slow the spread of the coronavirus, which is highly contagious.
The White House maintains that everyone who comes in contact with the President is tested for coronavirus regularly.
Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly urged people to wear masks during a news conference Sunday with Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, as the state struggles from a surge of coronavirus cases.
Later in the briefing, coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said, “I’m really appealing to every Texan to wear a mask.”
CNN’s Manu Raju pressed Alexander on whether the American people should look to the President for public health advice, given his past controversial remarks, including his comment about slowing down testing at his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally. The Tennessee Republican said Sunday that the public should listen to medical experts.
“My suggestion to the President all along and for the other political leaders is let the experts do the talking about medicine. People trust them,” Alexander said.
Lawmakers split on masks
GOP leadership has split on whether or not Trump should wear a mask, with Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar saying on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in a “unique position” and have “very different circumstances than the rest of us.”
Azar said the administration’s “message has been consistent” when it comes to wearing masks, which he urged people to do if they can’t socially distance.
“Until we find a vaccine, these are really important,” McConnell said Friday while holding up a blue mask, according to CNN affiliate WKYT. “This is not as complicated as a ventilator, and this is a way to indicate that you want to protect others.”
Some Republican governors, however, such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have resisted mandating face masks be worn in public in their states despite new coronavirus peaks in their states. Experts say wearing a face mask or other face covering could reduce the transmission of Covid-19 by as much as 50%.
This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.