Donald Trump Suggests His Supporters’ Refusal To Wear Masks Is A Form Of ‘Peaceful Protest’
During a press conference on Friday, President Donald Trump argued that his supporters’ refusal to wear protective masks amid the coronavirus pandemic is a form of political demonstration, The Hill reported.
Trump held the briefing before a group of supporters, some of whom, apparently, lacked face masks.
A reporter pointed out that 6,000 Americans died of complications caused by COVID-19 this week, telling the commander-in-chief that some individuals present at the event are not wearing masks and are therefore breaking the rules established by the state of New Jersey.
“You said that the pandemic is disappearing, but we lost 6,000 Americans this week and just in this room you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey,” the reporter argued.
“You’re wrong about that because it’s a political activity,” Trump responded.
“And it’s also a peaceful protest. To me they all look like they pretty much all have masks on,” the commander-in-chief continued, prompting cheers from the crowd.
Trump argued that those who participate in similar demonstrations do not have to wear masks, suggesting that his backers are, in fact, protesting the news media.
“You have an exclusion in the law it says peaceful protest. I’d call it peaceful protest because they know you’re coming up and they know the news is fake.”
As The Hill noted, Trump held the briefing at the Bedminster golf club, where he discussed the devastating coronavirus pandemic and announced several executive orders meant to boost the nation’s economy and expand health care coverage.
According to the publication, photos taken at the event suggest that the crowd did not follow social distancing guidelines, with attendees standing in close proximity to each other, some of them without face coverings.
This appears to be in violation of New Jersey’s coronavirus restrictions. The state requires all workers and customers at golf courses to wear masks and limits public gatherings to 25 percent capacity of a venue.
As CNN noted, for months, Trump refused to embrace face coverings, despite advice from experts and health officials in his own administrations.
However, the commander-in-chief apparently changed his mind. He first wore a mask during his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in July.
Later that month, Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask and described the act as “patriotic.”
Key Republican senators have fully accepted the practice. As previously reported by The Inquistir, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have urged their constituents to follow social distancing guidelines.