The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said people should wear face masks in public.
The White House falsely claimed on Wednesday that Donald Trump's failure to wear a mask on a visit to Atlanta was in accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trump's failure to wear a mask violated both a city order and CDC recommendations.
"The President takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement provided to CNN. "When preparing for and carrying out any travel, White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office, to ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the network that, by not wearing a face covering during his visit to the city's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Trump violated her executive order.
"So by not having on a mask, President Trump did violate law in the city of Atlanta," Bottoms said, "but I am somehow not surprised that he disregarded our rules and regulations in the city."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest update of its "Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings" guidance states that it "recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings" and notes that masks are "most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings."
In a press release published Tuesday titled, "CDC calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread," the CDC said that it "affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities."
Trump has almost always refused to wear face mask in public.
"I just don't want to wear one myself," he told reporters in April. "Somehow, sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know. Somehow, I don't see it for myself. I just don't."
In May, unnamed officials told the Associated Press that Trump's refusal to wear a face covering was because he feared it would make him look bad and "send the wrong message" as he pushed to quickly reopen the economy. He even refused to wear a mask when touring an Arizona mask factory that month — flouting signs that said, "Face mask required in this area."
Trump has attacked a reporter for being "politically correct" for wearing a mask; retweeted a Fox News analyst mocking how Joe Biden looked in one; dismissed the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of the coronavirus; and suggested Americans might be wearing masks just to signal their anti-Trump views.
On Wednesday, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order banning Atlanta and other localities from issuing mask requirements. He called such orders "a bridge too far," even as the number of new coronavirus cases in his state have spiked to more than 3,000 each day.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, a Trump appointee, said Tuesday that mask use could control the COVID-19 pandemic, and that "masking is not a political issue — it's a public health issue."
"I really do believe if the American public all embraced masking now, and we really did it, you know, rigorously," he told the Journal of the American Medical Association, "I think if we can get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four to six, eight weeks, we can bring this epidemic under control."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.