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“It is patriotic to wear a face mask,” tweets President Donald Trump

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump wrote. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

The accompanying picture, in black and white, showed Trump wearing a dark mask with the presidential seal.

The stylish photo and exhortation for Americans to unite around masks was a far cry from Trump’s longtime mocking of masks as symbols of weakness during a pandemic that he has repeatedly suggested is overblown. However, his tweet stopped well short of endorsing calls from some for a nationwide mandate to wear masks in public.

The nation’s top medical authorities — backed by several leading Republican figures — say that mask wearing is crucial to halting the disease.

Amid a fierce resurgence of the virus in southern and western states — including some that are Republican strongholds — Trump has come under new pressure to change his tune.

He only wore a mask in public for the first time on July 11.

 

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