“With the masks, it’s going to be, really, a voluntary thing. You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that’s OK,” Trump said at a press conference in Washington on Friday night, where officials announced the guidelines.
“It may be good. Probably will. They’re making a recommendation. It’s only a recommendation. It’s voluntary,” he added.
A slew of other countries—and some states and cities—recommended or mandated the use of masks when people leave their homes before the federal advisory. Federal officials cited seven studies published in recent weeks showing people infected with the the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, but who aren’t showing symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
The White House said earlier Friday that anyone expected to be near Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will be given a rapid test that can detect the virus even in people who aren’t showing symptoms.
The new recommendations say people should wear “cloth face coverings” in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to main, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Officials are asking Americans to not use surgical masks or N95 respirators in a bid to reserve them for frontline workers such as doctors and police officers.
Why Trump Won’t Wear One
Pressed on why he won’t wear a mask, Trump said he doesn’t want to and noted the federal advisory is a recommendation as opposed to mandated.
He tried imagining himself wearing a mask while sitting in the Oval Office behind the desk greeting world leaders.
“I don’t know. Somehow, I don’t see it for myself,” he said. “I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but this will pass and hopefully it’ll pass very quickly.”
The recommendation is simple and well-designated, the president added, “Most people can just make something out of a certain material.”
Trump was asked again why he wouldn’t be wearing a mask and said the guidelines are not mandatory.
“I just don’t choose to,” he said. “Basically, it’s a voluntary thing.”