New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed Donald Trump during a Monday press briefing, telling the president to “put a mask on” — a piece of public health guidance Trump has resisted — "because we know it works."
“We did it two months ago in this state,” said Cuomo, 62. “Let the president have the same sense to do that as an executive order [to encourage mask-wearing nationwide] and then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it, because we know it works.”
Trump has held out against wearing a mask since the beginning of the novel coronavirus crisis.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended people wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus in April, the president, 74, said the recommendation was “voluntary.”
“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” he said at the time.
He has avoided being seen in public wearing a mask, telling reporters during one May appearance: "I did not want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."
Other Republican leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have spoken out in support of masks and of not politicizing the health guideline.
Trump and Cuomo have gone back-and-forth throughout the pandemic, with Cuomo often criticizing the president’s response to the crisis as New York quickly became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. (The governor has faced his own scrutiny, including for how the state handled coronavirus patients in nursing homes, though he has insisted there were "no preventable deaths.")
In April, Trump tweeted that Cuomo “should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’” as the New York leader told reporters during his daily coronavirus briefing that the state wasn’t ready to reopen its economy until it had widespread testing capabilities, which would require the federal government’s help.
Cuomo responded in real time to Trump’s tweet, telling reporters that “if he's sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work.”
“Let’s keep emotion and politics out of this and personal ego, if we can,” he added. “Because this is about the people and it’s about our job. Let’s try to focus on that.”
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