- McConnell reportedly urged Americans to wear a mask at a Wednesday event in Kentucky, saying “you have an obligation.”
- “There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying 6 feet apart,” McConnell said.
- The remarks are a stark contrast to Trump, who has refused to wear one in public and recently mocked a reporter who did so at a White House press conference.
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Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Americans to wear a face mask on Wednesday, saying it’s a critical element in restoring normal life in the US during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s in stark contrast to President Trump, who has rarely worn one in public.
Politico first reported that McConnell called on people to don face masks to reduce the threat of another surge of infections.
“There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying 6 feet apart,” he said at an event in Kentucky.
He targeted his appeal particularly to younger people, saying “you have an obligation to others” and added that people could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus — meaning they don’t display symptoms.
“That’s not too much to ask of a younger person,” McConnell said of wearing the masks, according to the outlet. “So to get through this next phase, as we ease back into normal, even if you’re in a low-risk category, do what we’re asking you to do for the good of others as we begin to move back to normal.”
The Kentucky senator said he tried to provide a “good example” and pointed out there are photos of him “all over the place” wearing one on Capitol Hill.
McConnell’s comments are in stark contrast to the approach adopted by Trump, who has mostly refused to wear a mask in public despite guidance from public-health agencies urging people to do so. Many governors have already issued order making them mandatory for people in public spaces.
Trump mocked a reporter for wearing a mask on Tuesday at a White House press conference and called it “politically correct.” And on Thursday, the president shared a tweet from a conservative columnist at the Federalist arguing that using face masks represented a “culture of silence, slavery, and social death.”
“So many different viewpoints!” Trump wrote in the tweet.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
Trump briefly wore a face mask during a visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan last week, but said he didn’t want the press to see it.
The president’s personal opposition to wearing masks has invited fierce criticism from former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. He called Trump “an absolute fool” for not donning any protective face coverings in a CNN interview.
Many Americans say they are wearing a mask. A survey from the Democracy Fund and the UCLA Landscape Project showed 84% of respondents said they wore a mask in public, USA Today reported, an indication that support for mask-wearing stretches across party lines.
Those figures including many who back Trump. About 71% of those who were somewhat likely or very likely to approve of the president said they were likely to wear a mask in a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll.