For only the second time since the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States back in January, President Donald Trump wore a protective mask on Saturday during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
As a second wave of the deadly virus is hitting at least 36 states, it would seem the perfect time for Trump to make a logical pivot and call for every American to wear a mask in an effort to help control spread of the disease.
But according to CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein, Trump has painted himself into a corner when it comes to the mask issue.
During a discussion of masks Saturday afternoon, CNN host Alex Marquardt asked Brownstein:
“Ron, there is a retail trade group that has asked President Trump to institute federal, nationwide mask guidelines at stores across the country as the country continues to re-open. Experts are saying that masks could save thousands of lives in the coming months. Do you see a scenario in which — any chance in which he would issue that?”
“I think the short answer is no, and for a revealing reason. He is in a trap of his own construction. On coronavirus, we talk all the time about how President Trump’s base is bonded to him, immovably. He’s also bonded to the base in the other direction, that he is very reluctant to get out crosswise with a base that includes the kind of people that showed up at the Michigan capital to protest lockdown without wearing masks and waving Confederate flags and carrying automatic weapons.”
In essence, the president is now a prisoner of his own rhetoric, and that means he cannot credibly speak on the issue of preventing further spread of the disease, according to Brownstein:
“On all of these issues, he has — he plays, as someone said to me, he is playing to the short side of the field because he is so reluctant to get out away from the portion of the Republican base that views all of this either as a hoax or as an infringement on their liberty. When you poll, three-quarters of Americans say they support mask wearing. I suspect there will be a majority support when people start asking if there should be a national mandate, especially with what we’re seeing in the states.”
Just this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a statewide mandate for masks. The result has been an outpouring of venom aimed at him, with some Texans suggesting that Abbott be recalled for his move.
Given that Trump’s poll numbers continue to fall, it seems highly unlikely he’ll be doing the courageous thing and calling for everyone to wear a mask. That alone tells you just how spineless and craven the current head of state is.
Featured Image Via NBC News