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Trump Campaign Adviser Defends Trump’s Casual Mask Use: Biden Uses Masks ‘As A Prop’

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Topline

As President Trump and his allies are criticized for not taking masks and social distancing precautions more seriously in the wake of a Covid-19 outbreak that has infiltrated the White House, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller knocked Joe Biden for being too careful with face coverings during an interview Sunday, accusing the Democratic nominee of using them “as a prop.”

Donald Trump Holds Weekend Meetings In Bedminster, NJ

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: Jason Miller, communications director for the Trump … [+] transition team, briefs reporters at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

“He could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person, and still have the mask on,” Miller said on ABC News’ This Week, before adding, “that’s not going to change anything.” 

Miller then moved to knocking Biden for not holding as many in-person events as Trump, repeating a frequent Trump campaign talking point: “We can’t all stay in our basements for the rest of our lives,” he said.

This Week host George Stephanopoulos then pressed Miller about whether he believed the administration’s “cavalier” approach to wearing masks and social distancing had been a “mistake,” now that the president and multiple others are sick.

Miller disagreed, and said Trump and his campaign have taken masks and social distancing “very seriously” and acknowledged that masks are “very important.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends people “wear masks in public settings” and “when around people who don’t live in your household,” especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

The Trump campaign and the White House have been criticized for holding multiple in-person events and rallies where few more masks or social distanced.

Key Background

Miller was repeating a talking point of the president’s. During the debate on Tuesday, Trump mocked Biden for his mask use, saying the Democratic nominee wears one “all the time,” and shows up at events wearing the “biggest mask you’ve ever seen” even though he’s “200 feet away from you.” 

Tangent

Miller said Sunday that he has tested negative for Covid-19, even though he was among those who helped the president prep for the debate this week. 

Surprising Fact 

In April, scientists were unanimous in stressing the importance of masks for reducing Covid-19 spread. But it took months for the president to wear a mask in public, even as Democrats and some Republicans criticized Trump for not doing so and the CDC issued guidelines recommending Americans wear face coverings. In April, when the CDC issued the guidelines, Trump said he wasn’t going to follow it. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” Trump said then. “Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens—I just don’t see it.”

Big Number

10. That’s how many members of Trump’s inner circle who have tested positive for the virus. John Jenkins, the University of Notre Dame president, has also tested positive.

Crucial Quote

Pressed on Fox News Sunday by Chris Wallace about why the Trump family and the Trump campaign didn’t wear face coverings during the debate on Tuesday, violating regulations handed down by the Cleveland Clinic for the debate, Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes chalked the decision up to “personal choice” and said they were distanced enough. 

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