Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Donald Trump to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. In a Monday interview, she called it “an act of selfishness” not to wear one.
Pelosi first criticized Trump in a transcript of an interview with MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” last Wednesday. Pelosi shared her criticism after Trump decided not to wear a mask while visiting Honeywell International’s latest mask factory in Arizona last Tuesday and said Trump’s decision to not wear a mask is “a vanity thing.”
“The President, it’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him. I don’t know why he would be vain, but anyways, it’s a vanity thing,” Pelosi said. “You would think as the President of the United States you would have the confidence to honor the guidance that you are giving others in the country. Yes, he should have worn a face mask.”
Pelosi added, “It’s really another indication that as we tell everyone to wash their hands, 30 seconds, soap and water, top and bottom, wash your hands – hygiene and sanitation, very important in fighting this. Apparently the President has washed his hands of this. He’s just washed his hands. He wants the Task Force is here today, gone tomorrow. No mask. ‘Why should I have a mask when I’m President of the United States?’ We have a real problem here, but forget it.”
In a new Monday interview with host Greta Van Susteren, Pelosi again referenced the mask issue with Trump. Pelosi was asked to respond to questions about Trump’s decision not to wear a mask, in light of a number of recent coronavirus cases in and around the White House. While not naming Trump specifically in her Monday comments, Pelosi did say people should wear masks out of courtesy to others.
“In terms of the masks, that’s really a courtesy. It’s not to protect ourselves; it’s to protect others. You know, whatever, you know, there are people who have no symptoms or are asymptomatic, and yet – so, just to be on the safe side, people should wear a mask,” Pelosi said. “Actually, when people don’t, it’s really, in some ways, maybe it was inconvenient for them, but as a decision not to wear a mask is really an act of selfishness, ‘I don’t care what I might spew on you because I’m invincible myself.'”
Reuters reporter Jeff Mason recalled asking Trump about his mask decision following the apparent controversy.
“I asked @realDonaldTrump why he didn’t wear a mask at the Honeywell plant yesterday. He said he had worn one,” Mason tweeted. “I said we did not see him wearing one. He said he wore one backstage and the Honeywell chief said it was not necessary to wear in the plant.”
I asked @realDonaldTrump why he didn’t wear a mask at the Honeywell plant yesterday. He said he had worn one. I said we did not see him wearing one. He said he wore one backstage and the Honeywell chief said it was not necessary to wear in the plant. pic.twitter.com/4KYvq3J6yE
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) May 6, 2020
Trump has been criticized in the past for generally maintaining a decision not to wear a masks, despite sharing the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice for people to wear masks during coronavirus press briefings.
With the recent coronavirus scares at the White House, Trump did tweet on Tuesday about the risk of a Pelosi presidency if he and Vice President Mike Pence become incapacitated by the virus.
“Then we must be very careful,” Trump tweeted in reaction to an article about Pelosi’s potential succession to hold the office. “Crazy Nancy would be a total disaster, and the USA will never be a Communist Country!”
Then we must be very careful. Crazy Nancy would be a total disaster, and the USA will never be a Communist Country! https://t.co/r0tP5dxZ9h
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
The White House has also implemented temperature checks for guests and reporters entering White House grounds and has enforced spacing in between seats at regular coronavirus press briefings, in line with federal social distancing guidelines.
A spokesman for Pence also recently noted Pence was undergoing daily coronavirus testing and has continued to return negative test results.