WASHINGTON, D.C. — (CNN/WJW) — President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask and said, “We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”
The President first wore a mask in public on July 11 while visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington to meet wounded service members and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients. “When you’re in a hospital, especially… I think it’s expected to wear a mask… I have never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” he told reporters.
Earlier Monday, President Trump said he’ll resume regular coronavirus briefings as the country experiences a resurgence of cases.
“We have had this big flare-up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “I’ll get involved and we’ll start doing briefings.”
The acknowledgment came as Trump’s advisers debate a return to the daily briefings, which were a hallmark of the pandemic’s earlier days.
Now, however, many of Trump’s aides worry he appears absent as the crisis continues to rage. Trump no longer attends daily coronavirus task force meetings and hasn’t held an event specifically focused on the virus in two weeks.
Trump said the revival of briefings would allow him to tout advancements on therapeutics and vaccines, and explain the “positive things” his administration is doing to combat the virus.
“I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public,” Trump said, adding they would likely resume on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET — the same time he typically briefed in the spring.
“We had a good slot. A lot of people were watching,” Trump said, using television ratings lingo to describe the sessions: “We had record numbers watching,” he said. “In the history of cable television there’s never been anything like it.”
As polls show Americans souring on Trump’s handling of the public health crisis, his aides had begun weighing plans to put him back in front of the administration’s response, including the potential of resuming the type of near-daily update that marked the first stage of the outbreak, people familiar with the plans say.
Recognizing that Trump’s reelection prospects are now tied intractably to the coronavirus pandemic, his aides are hopeful the coming weeks will mark a new focus on his part on addressing the crisis and appearing in charge.
A senior Trump campaign adviser said not only would that help Trump politically, it would have the added benefit of saving lives.
“It’s about doing the right thing,” the adviser said.
“The President’s routinely focused on the coronavirus,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday. “I think you’ll be hearing more about what we’re doing in the coming week. He’s hard at work.”
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