Nancy Pelosi called Donald Trump a “coward” for not wearing a face mask in public and said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is holding back on mandating that Americans wear them out of fear of embarrassing the president.
The House speaker appeared on NPR this week to discuss the president’s response to the coronavirus crisis, sharply criticizing him for failing to show leadership on wearing a mask in public. Though the CDC released guidelines calling on all Americans to wear masks in public and many state and local governments have required it, Trump has yet to wear one during any of his public visits and has been vocally opposed to the idea.
In the interview, Pelosi went after Trump for both his refusal and his administration’s apparent catering to his personal beliefs.
“In fact, the reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hasn’t made it mandatory is because they don’t want to embarrass the president, or insult the president, whatever it is,” she continued.
“And not wearing a mask himself as an example to the country? How cowardly is that? It’s not about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others.”
As Business Insider noted, Pelosi has leveled some sharp and at times personal criticism at Trump over his handling of the coronavirus, previously saying that it was dangerous for him to take an untested coronavirus drug because he is “morbidly obese.” In this week’s interview with NPR, she also publicly sided with Trump’s opponent in the upcoming presidential election, saying she agreed with a pledge from Joe Biden that he would make mask-wearing mandatory if he became president.
Public health experts have said that mask-wearing can dramatically reduce the number of coronavirus transmissions — though only if a significant number of Americans join in on doing it. As The Inquisitr reported, a recent study from the University of California at Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute in conjunction with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that if 80 percent of Americans wore masks in public, it could lead to a dramatic reduction in coronavirus infections. Trump’s critics say his insistence on not wearing a mask is setting a bad example for his followers, many of whom are also opposed to wearing masks.
Other members of the Trump administration have been pressured to defend the president’s insistence on not wearing a mask, which has extended to other top members of the administration. Vice President Mike Pence was asked on Friday whether it sets a bad example that he and Trump regularly do not wear masks, even on visits to areas where they are required, but said that Americans have a First Amendment right to expression.