Trump officials mocked masks from the start as ‘underwear on your face’: New book
Trump, Mike Pence and CDC for coronavirus (Photo: Screen capture)

Masks were controversial from the start inside Donald Trump's administration, where officials mocked face coverings with sexist language.

After public health experts recommended face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, administration officials ridiculed masks as looking like a "training bra" or "underwear on your face," according to "Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History," a new book by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.

Then-vice president Mike Pence was tapped to head the coronavirus task force at the end of February 2020, and he and his chief of staff Mark Short quickly turned their focus on the political and economic implications of the pandemic and complained that Trump was overreacting by extending an economic pause through Easter at the advice of public health experts.

Short also pushed back on a federal effort to send free masks to every American household, which public health experts had hoped would depoliticize the practice of wearing masks, but the vice president's office believed would unnecessarily alarm the public.