Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy repeatedly pushed influential Republicans on Tuesday to convince President Donald Trump to publicly wear a face mask amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, telling them that it would be a “powerful symbol” and “set a good example.”
With the virus now raging through several Republican-led states, many conservative elected officials and leaders have openly supported mask-wearing to help stem the spread of the disease. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence implored Americans to wear face coverings during an event in Texas, where new cases are exploding.
The president, however, continues to refuse to don a mask in public, prompting Doocy to devote much of Tuesday’s broadcast of Trump’s favorite morning show to personally convince him otherwise.
“I wish the president would put on a mask every once in a while because it would make him look as if he is taking it seriously and is listening to the CDC,” Doocy said in an interview with Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “Because they have made it very clear, and I know he is tested all the time, but the masks work.”
After McDaniel insisted that the president takes the pandemic “incredibly seriously” before pivoting to the president’s partial China travel ban, Doocy refocused the discussion back to pushing Trump to wear a mask.
“More states every day are mandating people, their citizens, to wear masks, and I think that if the president wore one, it would just set a good example,” he declared. “He would be a good role model. I don’t see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public.”
He concluded his pitch to McDaniel by appealing to Trump’s well-known love for branding and slogans.
“I think by wearing a mask you can keep the economy open,” Doocy proclaimed. “‘MAGA’ should now stand for ‘Masks Are Great Again.’ Let me give you some marketing advice right there.”
Later in the program, Doocy continued to sell the idea of the president regularly wearing a face mask in public, this time to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“What about the president? He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to wear a mask, but his federal government says everybody should wear a mask,” the veteran Fox host stated. “Don’t you think it would be a powerful symbol if the president of the United States would put on a mask and understand what so many people around the country are doing to try to slow down the spread of this thing?”
McCarthy mildly defended the president by saying he’s “worn a mask at times” and that he supposedly practices social distancing when he speaks. At the same time, the California lawmaker said that face coverings are the best opportunity to keep the economy open.
Doocy, meanwhile, pointed out that every Fox News employee must wear masks to enter the building, adding that he just doesn’t “see any downside in the president being seen more often wearing it.”
“It’s symbolic,” he declared. “Obviously, it’s patriotic because you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re protecting other people.”
Doocy’s remarks came the morning after Fox News host and Trump confidant Sean Hannity called on his viewers to wear masks in public.
“I was in the epicenter of this. I went to my grocery store every week. Guess what? They wore masks,” Hannity exclaimed on his Monday night show. “Nobody at my grocery store, thank God, got coronavirus. I think they work.”