With over 120 thousand Americans dead of the highly contagious virus that's upended daily life in the United States, health experts are imploring Americans to wear masks or other facial coverings to prevent the spread.
The use of masks, however, is seen by more than a few as a political statement.
That's largely credited to President Donald Trump, who qualified his announcement of the CDC mask guidelines with the assertion that he probably wouldn't wear one himself.
Since then, the President has refused to wear a mask in public and his supporters are following suit. Few of the attendees at Trump's rallies in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Yuma, Arizona this month were seen wearing masks. According to a Pew Research Center poll, Conservative Republicans are among the least likely to wear a mask.
Now, a Senator from the President's own party is pointing out the harm the President's example is causing.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) admitted in a CNN interview on Sunday that the President wearing a mask from time to time would lessen the partisanship imposed on safety.
"I'm just saying if wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do,"
Alexander's admission—right as it may be—didn't do much to redeem what many see as Republicans' enablement of Trump's dismissal of the threat posed by the virus.
Wow, Alexander is really going out on a limb. Going rogue. Brilliant. Why didn't anyone else think of this?
— George Marinelli (@GeorgeMarinelli) June 28, 2020
Way to really put yourself out there.
— Texan13 (@N8ivTexan) June 28, 2020
Lamar Alexander is the Lisa Murkowski of Susan Collinses.
— Rick 🗽🇺🇸 (@DidntSayRichard) June 28, 2020
A bit late?
— FRANCISCO DUARTE (@frankracer) June 28, 2020
Yes, Trump should wear a mask and maybe stop tweeting “white power"videos. Great job @SenAlexander Way to show courage.....
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) June 28, 2020
People had theories as to why Trump remains dead set against masks.
Trump won't wear a mask because he wants to look fearless and immune, godlike to his supporters. I think we're all very much aware that he doesn't care about most people, only the elite and the wealthy. #DonaldQueef
— Justin Davies (@justsoguitars) June 28, 2020
His ego is more important than he's health and that's just a sad person.
— kaye lloyd (@kayeklltime) June 28, 2020
Its almost as if he prefers it when we all hate each other but he's the President so that couldn't be...
— Dave Schwartz (@davesch7) June 28, 2020
Virus cases across the country continue to rise, particularly in the southeastern region of the United States.