A Photo Of President Trump Wearing A Mask Is Igniting Controversy

President Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask on Monday and suggested it was "patriotic" to do so, igniting both praise and criticism from his supporters.

The photo: In a caption to the black-and-white image, which elicited hundreds of thousands of comments on Twitter, the president declared that Americans "are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus."

  • "[M]any people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance," he said, adding, "There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!"

Earlier this month, the president wore a mask in public for the first time while visiting Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Trump, in keeping with the general consensus among his base, had previously exhibited reluctance to fully embrace masks and appeared to mock 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden for wearing one in May.

The reaction: The sentiment among Trump's critics on social media was that it was too little too late.

"Trump putting on a mask now is like wearing a condom after his mistress is already 4 months pregnant," tweeted Nick Jack Pappas, a comedian and liberal activist.

A substantial contingent of the president's supporters, many of them professed face-mask skeptics, celebrated the gesture, with some saying Trump looked "like a boss" wearing a mask.

Other Trump supporters, like The Daily Wire pundit Michael Knowles, were critical of the president's apparent reversal on the issue.

"Sorry President! I stop won't wear one," tweeted Deanna Lorraine, a Trump-supporting former Republican candidate for California's 12th congressional district. "And no it's not 'patriotic' to wear a face mask. It's about obedience and makes no medical sense."

Trump's longtime refusal to wear a mask in public and his rhetoric against anti-pandemic restrictions have helped make the accessory a culture wars symbol.

  • Officials reversing themselves on the need for the public to wear masks, as well as sometimes-ideological policy responses, have fueled skepticism about government guidance and edicts, especially among conservatives.

Still, mask-wearing is becoming more widespread and less partisan, according to polls.

In related news, Trump met with top GOP officials in the White House on Monday to discuss what will likely be the final congressional coronavirus relief package this year.

According to reports, major divisions between Senate Republicans and both the White House and House Democrats mean no comprise is expected any time soon.

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