After long resisting wearing a mask in public, US President Donald Trump says he thinks it makes him look like the Lone Ranger – and he likes it.
“I’m all for masks. I think masks are good,” Mr Trump told Fox Business in an interview on Wednesday. “People have seen me wearing one.”
Mr Trump’s comments came a day after Republican lawmakers suggested that the president wear a mask in public to set a good example for Americans.
“If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely,” Mr Trump said in the interview.
Mr Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask. In early April, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures were difficult to maintain.
Mr Trump immediately undercut the CDC guidance by flatly stating that he wouldn’t be following it, suggesting it would be unseemly for the commander in chief to wear a mask as he meets with heads of states.
On Wednesday, he sounded a different tone, saying, “I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked. OK. I thought it was OK. It was a dark black mask, and I thought it looked OK.
“It looked like the Lone Ranger,” he continued, a reference to the fictional law-and-order character from the American Old West who wore a black eye mask.
“I have no problem with that, and if people feel good about it, they should do it.”
In recent days, many Republicans and members of the White House coronavirus task force team have been more outspoken in advocating for Americans to wear face masks in public settings as infections have surged in huge swaths of the South and West.
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday noted that Mr Trump is regularly tested for the coronavirus, as are his aides.
White House visitors and members of the media who are in close proximity to him and Vice President Mike Pence are also tested.
“I’ve said wear them, the first lady has said wear them, the president’s administration has said wear them,” Ms Conway said.