President Trump finally wore a mask for the first time in public when he visited Walter Reed military hospital last week.
The move came more than three months after the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans don face coverings at all times in public to stop the spread of COVID-19.
But the president continued to give mixed messages to the American people by saying masks “have a time and a place.” He previously said he wouldn’t wear a mask and mocked rival Joe Biden for doing so.
Those around Trump have reportedly pushed for the administration to send out a different message about COVID-19 after polls have shown a strong majority of the public believes Trump has mishandled the pandemic.
But his brief public appearance with a mask shouldn’t be construed as a signal he is taking the health crisis more seriously.
Instead Trump continues to paint his own health experts as the enemy, driven by politics and untrustworthy.
Monday morning Trump retweeted a tweet that accused the CDC of lying about the coronavirus in order to obstruct his reelection: “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust,” the tweet read.
The tweet comes as the White House has moved to sideline Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been the key person in guiding the country through the pandemic.
The Washington Post reports that senior administration officials say Fauci no longer visits the Oval Office and Trump is not taking briefings from him.
Trump himself continues to publicly rebuke Fauci, saying in recent interviews that Fauci has “made a lot of mistakes” and saying he disagrees with the respected scientist’s assessment that the country is not in a good place when it comes to containing COVID-19.
As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are spiking in several states, the country needs national leadership based on science — leadership that has been provided by Fauci, the CDC and other health experts.
The president may view everything only in the light of his reelection chances, but the American people continue to understand that it is leaders such as Fauci who they trust in.