Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday joined growing calls from Republicans to wear masks despite President Trump’s reluctance to do so as coronavirus cases surge in several states.
When asked during an interview on CNBC about why the President hasn’t been more publicly aggressive about wearing masks in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Mulvaney explained that the public was initially told at the beginning of the pandemic in February to be worried about contracting the coronavirus from hard surfaces and asymptomatic people.
Mulvaney said he thinks “that analysis on masks needs to change, should be changing,” citing members of the Trump administration’s adoption of the practice.
“I think you’re starting to see more and more people wear them,” Mulvaney said. “I think (Treasury Secretary Steve) Mnuchin and (Federal Reserve Chair Jerome) Powell both wore them yesterday to their hearings. I’ve seen the vice president in them.”
Mulvaney then went on to concede that “certainly the President could start wearing” masks to “send that message.”
“Look, the way you get this virus is by getting it from someone who is sick. And if you wear a mask, and they wear a mask, it reduces the risk dramatically,” Mulvaney said. “So the message could be: wear a mask and go to work. Wear a mask and get on the airplane. Wear a mask and go to church. Wear a mask and go to one of my rallies. But that message could be changed now I think based upon new information.”
Mulvaney is the latest Republican to join the mask-wearing bandwagon. Vice President Mike Pence; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mitt Romney (R-UT); and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) have all urged the public recently to adopt the practice in light of surging coronavirus cases.
But the White House is still not explicitly encouraging citizens to wear face coverings. On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany continued deferring to local officials on mask-wearing requirements. McEnany’s remarks were made a day after Pence finally encouraged people to wear facial coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Watch Mulvaney’s remarks below: