CNN panel tears into Trump for obsessing over the optics of face masks: 'This isn't about looks'
Donald Trump (Olivier Douliery:AFP)

On Wednesday, a CNN panel broke down President Donald Trump's recent remark that he likes how he looks in a face mask.

"He has the bully pulpit," said White House correspondent Jim Acosta. "President Trump says he likes how he looks in a mask. But this isn't about looks. It is about saving lives."

"It really just gives you a window into how the president is approaching this, and has been from day one," said correspondent Abby Phillip. "One of the things you have to remember is he has used masks as a political weapon against Vice President Biden, because he has said that Biden looks weak. His campaign has used images of Biden wearing a mask in campaign attack ads. So it is not surprising that the president would be first and foremost concerned about the way that he looks and wanting to change that narrative before he changes his behavior on the subject of whether he will wear masks. But, you know, I also think that this is a sign of how the president has had trouble with this part of the presidency, which is the way in which he has to demonstrate the kind of behavior that he wants the public to actually exhibit."

"It took a new peak of infections and many Republicans breaking from him on masks to get to this point," said Acosta to panelist John Harwood. "Is the president leading here or is he being led?"

"Quite plainly he is being led," said Harwood. "What was governing his behavior lately is the same thing that was governing it at the beginning of the crisis, that is, the idea that he doesn't want to disturb the psychology of the country around the state of the economy. In the beginning it was to protect a strong economy that we began this re-election year in. Now it is to try to protect the recovery. But it is quite obvious that the worse the coronavirus situation is, the worse the economy is going to be. What the president doesn't get in this re-election calculation is one of the reasons why he is in deep, deep trouble for re-election is people don't think he is taking coronavirus seriously."

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