As Donald Trump continues to fumble his response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, the president proved that he believes the CDC guidelines don’t apply to him. Trump joined First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence for an Earth Day celebration at the White House, and voters quickly realized that there was something wrong with the pictures from the April 22 event. As the Trumps and the Pences shoveled dirt onto a newly-planted sapling on the White House lawn, not a single person wore personal protective gear, or practiced social distancing. In fact, the foursome shared two shovels and stood side-by-side while touching hands. Voters immediately called them out for their dangerous behavior.
“With nobody wearing masks,” one annoyed voter tweeted, using the eye-rolling emoji. “Cough cough.” A critic wrote in response to an ABC News gif of the tree-planting ceremony, “No social distance either. No gloves either… but sure, let’s share a shovel.” The comments kept rolling in. “What I would have given for one of them to sneeze,” one person tweeted, while another wrote, “Nice social distancing there, Chief.” Others joked that they were “burying the Constitution” and “digging their own graves.” While yes, it’s not necessary to wear a face mask around the family members you live with per the CDC, it’s recommended that once outside the home, individuals cover their faces. Not only did the Trumps and Pences interact with each other, but they were near the photographers covering the event — who hopefully all remembered to put on protective gear.
Of course, seeing Trump without a mask isn’t much of a surprise. When the president announced during his April 3 Coronavirus Task Force briefing that Americans should start wearing “non-medical cloth” face coverings, he added, “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it. Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it.”
— ABC News (@ABC) April 22, 2020
Four days before the Earth Day gaffe, the First Lady tweeted out a photo of herself wearing a face mask, urging Americans to follow suit. “As the CDC continues to study the spread of COVID-19, they recommend that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain. Remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing. It is recommended to keep us all safe,” she wrote.
“You might want to mention this to your loopy husband who is actively encouraging people to go out in crowds protesting,” a voter wrote in response, referencing Trump’s call for supporters to “liberate” their states by continuing to protest stay-at-home orders. As of April 22, there are 834,742 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States; 46,149 Americans have already died from the illness.