President Donald Trump wears a mask as he walks down the hall during his visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., July 11, 2020.
Patrick Semansky | AP
President Donald Trump wore a mask during a public visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday after long struggling against bipartisan efforts to set a good example and demonstrate to Americans the importance of wearing a face mask to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.
Trump visited wounded service members and their families, as well as healthcare workers who looked after Covid 19 patients during the pandemic, the White House said. The president was accompanied by military leaders, followed by employees who also wore masks.
Trump put on the mask as the country continued to record record infections. In total, more than 3.2 million Americans are infected with the corona virus, while more than 134,000 have died.
Before leaving for Walter Reed, Trump told reporters on the White House lawn in the south that he "would likely have a mask" if he went to the hospital. Walter Reed requires visitors to wear masks when a safe social distance is not possible.
"I think when you are in a hospital, especially in this special environment where you talk to a lot of soldiers and people who in some cases have just come off the operating table, I think it's great to wear a mask," said Trump . "I've never been against masks, but I think they have a time and a place."
Trump has refused to wear a mask in the past. During a visit to a Ford plant in Michigan in May, the president was spotted at the factory without a mask, despite the fact that the law and company guidelines required a face covering. Ford issued a statement that Trump wore a mask during a private meeting at the plant, but later removed it.
Democrats and Republicans, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, have tried to persuade the government to demonstrate the importance of wearing masks.
The Trump administration has opposed the federal government's demands that Americans wear masks during the pandemic. Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC that he did not believe a national mandate was required, despite the increase in coronavirus cases in the south and west of America. Pence said that in some parts of the country, people could maintain a safe social distance.