WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: President Donald Trump sp
President Donald Trump speaks with news anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum during a Virtual Town Hall inside of the Lincoln Memorial on May 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)
  • President Donald Trump suggested a news reporter was being "politically correct" for wearing a face mask.
  • "Can you take it off, because I cannot hear you," Trump said to the reporter, referencing their face mask.
  • "I'll just speak louder, sir," the reporter replied.
  • "Ok, you want to be politically correct. Go ahead," Trump said.
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President Donald Trump suggested to a news reporter they were being "politically correct" for wearing a face mask during a press conference at the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

Trump, who was speaking about federal assistance for senior citizens with diabetes, was answering two questions from Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason. The president was asked about his remarks about former Vice President Joe Biden's decision to wear a mask outside in public on Memorial Day weekend, and about Trump fueling a debunked conspiracy theory in recent days.

Trump previously retweeted a picture of Joe Biden wearing a face mask with the caption, "This might help explain why Trump doesn't like to wear a mask in public."

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump described Biden's decision to wear a face mask as "very unusual" because it was done outside with "perfect weather."

Trump referenced Mason's second question but called for clarity: "And your second question was? I couldn't hear you.

"Can you take it off, because I cannot hear you?" Trump said to Mason, referencing their face mask.

"I'll just speak louder, sir," Mason replied.

"Ok, you want to be politically correct. Go ahead," Trump said.

"No sir, I just want to wear the mask," Mason said.

Trump, who has tested negative for the coronavirus in numerous tests, has been criticised for not wearing a face mask in public settings. During a tour of a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan last week, Trump was photographed not wearing one despite the company having a policy and Michigan's attorney general saying wearing it was a "legal responsibility."

"I did wear one. I had it on before; I wore one on in this back area," Trump later told reporters. "But I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it. I had it in the back area. I did put a mask on."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a facial covering "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

"It is critical to emphasise that maintaining 6-feet (2 metres) social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus," the CDC says on its website. "CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others."

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