After making the case that “lockdowns” to prevent the spread of coronavirus don’t work, Trump told rallygoers in Tampa, Florida: “We know the disease. We social distance. We do all of the things that you have to do.”
“If you get close, wear a mask. ‘Oh, it’s controversial.’ It’s not controversial to me. You get close, you wear a mask. Social distance, social distance,” he told the audience.
The audience he delivered this message to was largely maskless. They were packed so tightly that several people required medical attention due to the heat and a nearby fire truck had to cool supporters down. Staff was also seen without masks.
Trump has openly questioned whether masks are effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House Coronavirus Task Force members including Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and others.
Asked for a specific example, Trump said waiters.
“They come over, they serve you and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day, where they were serving me and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. … They’re playing with the mask. … They’re touching it and then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good,” Trump said.
The White House did host a socially distanced, mask-required event at the White House to hold the swearing-in ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. A late September White House event for Barrett’s nomination was deemed by health experts a superspreader event.