Trump doesn’t think US needs a national mask mandate

A sewing room with custom face masks being created (adamkaz, Getty Images)

CNN – President Donald Trump said he would not consider a national mandate on mask wearing in a new interview with Fox set to air on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News' Chris Wallace whether he would consider instituting a mandate, Trump responded, "No, I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don't believe in that, no."

As part of a hour-long sit-down interview, Trump also said that he disagrees with the assessment by Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said at a news conference this week that "if all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks, six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground."

“I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears,” Trump said. “Dr. Fauci said don’t wear a mask, our Surgeon General, terrific guy, said don’t wear a mask. Everybody was saying don’t wear a mask. All of a sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know, masks cause problems too, with that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”

In the early days of the pandemic, public health officials asked people to not wear masks to save supplies for frontline workers, but now, both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, and US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, have repeatedly called upon Americans to wear masks in public.

During congressional testimony on June 30, Fauci said, "We recommend masks for everyone" and "masks are extremely important." Adams said last weekend that cases could be turned around in two to three weeks if everyone wore a mask.

This week, top CDC officials said that science shows face masks work, and everybody should wear them around other people.

Masks have become a political flashpoint as some Americans argue the requirement infringes upon their civil liberties.

Trump wore a face mask for the first time in public since the pandemic began last Saturday while visiting wounded service members at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. Ahead of his visit, Trump teased he would wear a face covering, emphasizing that it was needed in a hospital setting.

“I think when you’re in a hospital especially in that particular setting, where you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table. I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask. I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Trump told reporters ahead of his visit last Saturday.