Trump seems to have gotten the message that wearing a face mask is important and necessary—for the success of his reelection campaign. According to officials who attended a meeting at the White House to discuss campaign strategies, numbers showed that Americans did not approve of Trump’s response to mask-wearing.
Then we received this tweet.
The tweet features a picture of Trump wearing a mask with the presidential seal. It was apparently taken at his visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month. It was his first—and remains his only—time wearing a mask in public.
The language in the tweet panders to his base. Trump continues to call COVID-19 the “Invisible Chinese Virus” to appeal to their racism. He says it’s “patriotic” to wear a face mask, appealing to those who think they own patriotism and that supporting the MAGA ethos is the most patriotic thing you can do.
If this tweet gets some Trump supporters who were reluctant to wear a mask to put one on, then great. But a lot of Trump supporters simply cannot get behind wearing a mask—not even when their Dear Leader tells them to do so.
As the number of coronavirus cases grew across several key Republican states, more and more Republican leaders began emphasizing mask-wearing in an attempt to de-politicize what has become a strangely loaded item meant to keep folks from getting other people sick.
For those who refuse to wear masks, the cloth item has become a symbol of many ills, including emasculation, silencing by secret political forces, liberal propaganda, and—perplexingly—a strain on people’s health. But for most of us, it’s just a piece of fabric we put on to go to the grocery store because we care about our neighbors’ and communities’ well-being.
Time will tell whether or not Trump will continue to promote mask-wearing—or rather, his polling numbers will.