WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump visited wounded soldiers and medical workers Saturday while wearing what – for him – is an unusual accessory: a mask.
"I've never been against masks," the president said, "but I do believe they have a time and a place."
Trump, who has been criticized by public health officials for not wearing face coverings in public, donned a navy blue mask with the gold presidential seal emblazoned on the side during his trip to Walter Reed.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and members of the Secret Service also wore masks during the visit, which lasted less than an hour.
Critics said too many Trump followers followed his no-mask lead, contributing to the spread of the virus.
“It’s sad to think of all the infections and deaths that could’ve been avoided if Trump had simply modeled good behavior from the start," said Chris Lu, who managed Cabinet business for President Barack Obama.
Lu said, "This is way too little, too late.”
Thursday, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, "It's fine to wear a mask if it makes you feel comfortable."
Trump said he planned to wear a mask during the Walter Reed visit because "you're in a hospital setting," and "I think it's a very appropriate thing. ... I have no problem with a mask."
The Walter Reed website says, "Visitors are expected to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth upon entering and while moving about the facility or waiting rooms and when not able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing."