Donald Trump's apparent refusal to wear a mask due to a belief it would send the wrong message to the public and his supporters was buried in derision by the Daily Beasts's Molly Jong-Fast, who claimed the president must believe he is incapable of getting sick.
According to a report from NBC, the president reportedly told aides he wouldn't wear a mask in public because it would make him look "ridiculous," and might be used in opposition campaign ads leading up to the November election.
According to Jong-Fast, there is more to it than just vanity.
"On Tuesday the president took his first trip since the coronavirus grounded the country, to a Honeywell factory in battleground state Arizona. This particular Honeywell factory produces N95 masks. Pictures of the trip immediately surfaced on the internet, and they showed a president sporting his usual mango-tinted, ever-tan skin, his usual topiary-structured hair tinted a baffling yellowish, and a pair of clear safety goggles," she wrote in her familiar caustic style. "But what was missing? What we did not see on the president’s face was a mask. While the rest of us cover our faces as recommended by the CDC, the president does not. In fact, we have never seen a mask on the president, despite the president’s love of masking himself when it comes to his tax returns, his sexual assault allegations, and his financial dealings."
"The truth seems pretty obvious: He doesn’t want to be seen in a mask. And it makes sense that a president who doesn’t believe in global warming, a president who questioned if vaccinations caused autism, that guy isn’t really the type to follow the CDC guidelines," she continued. "Like most autocrats, Trump is invested in the image of himself as a strong man, and part of that strong man image is the idea that he is healthier than other individuals. "
Noting that Trump's personal doctor once wrote a letter attesting to the president's excellent health, writing, Trump is “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” -- which turned out to have been written by the president himself -- the columnist suggested there is much at work going on when it comes to the president's high regard for himself.
"The idea that after all those well-done steaks and double vanilla ice-creams, Trump is somehow healthier than normal 73-year old, is his favorite trope, and it plays into the larger trope of genetic supremacy," she wrote. "The mask has become a symbol, like a reverse MAGA hat. By wearing a mask you’re acknowledging you believe in science, that you believe there's a deadly pandemic ravaging our country (there is, it’s killed more than 70,000 people)."
"The problem Trump is about to encounter is that politicizing public health and science usually ends in death," she warned. "Look at the government censorship of the coverage of the Spanish flu."
"The president (whether he admits it or not) has sent a message to his supporters, that they don’t need to worry about the coronavirus and shouldn’t wear masks. You don’t have to be a virologist to see this is going to end in tears," Jong-Fast explained before dryly adding, "Oh, well. Live and let die, I suppose."
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