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Trump will not require Americans to wear masks because he 'wants people to have a certain freedom'

President Donald Trump said he would not require all Americans to wear masks to combat the spread of the coronavirus, because he wants ‘people to have a certain freedom.’ 

Trump’s response came after he was asked about issuing a nationwide facial covering mandate for all Americans during an interview to be broadcast on Fox News this weekend.

‘I don’t believe in that, no,’ the president told Chris Wallace for a segment of Fox News Sunday.


Trump's response came after he was asked about issuing a nationwide facial covering mandate for all Americans during an interview to be broadcast on Fox News this weekend. 'I don't believe in that, no,' the president told Chris Wallace (right) for a segment of Fox News Sunday

Trump’s response came after he was asked about issuing a nationwide facial covering mandate for all Americans during an interview to be broadcast on Fox News this weekend. ‘I don’t believe in that, no,’ the president told Chris Wallace (right) for a segment of Fox News Sunday

The president, answering Wallace if he had any regrets not wearing a mask sooner before wearing a facial covering in public for the first time during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, also said, ‘No.’ 

The president also dismissed a CDC recommendation that if all Americans wore masks, the virus could be contained within a matter of weeks. 

The agency this week urged people to continue wearing masks to stop the spread of the disease, citing studies which showed they are a ‘critical tool’ in the pandemic. 

‘I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask, everything could disappear,’ he told Wallace.   

Trump also threw in a jab at Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading epidemiologist and member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, who the president’s administration has split with on the debate over facial coverings. 

‘Hey Dr. Fauci said don’t wear a mask. Our surgeon general, terrific guy, said don’t wear a mask,’ the president said in a reference to US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. 

The president’s references to Fauci and Adams were made in a rebuke of mixed messaging over facial coverings. 

Trump also threw in a jab at Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the nation's leading epidemiologist who the president's administration has split with on the debate over facial coverings

Trump also threw in a jab at Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the nation’s leading epidemiologist who the president’s administration has split with on the debate over facial coverings

‘Everybody was saying don’t wear a mask. All of a sudden, everybody’s gotta wear mask, and as you know, masks cause problems too.’ 

Fauci admitted to NPR that conflicting advice offered early on in the pandemic were to blame for the debate that now rages over whether people should wear masks.

‘We have to admit it, that that mixed message in the beginning, even though it was well meant to allow masks to be available for health workers, that was detrimental in getting the message across,’ Fauci said. ‘No doubt about it.’ 

So far, there have been more than 3.6 million cases in the US of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for more than 138,000 deaths. 

Fauci said that he is ‘walking a tightrope’ in his relationship with Trump, but also bluntly told an interviewer that he cannot be removed from his job.

Fauci has since said he is ‘walking a tightrope’ in his relationship with Trump but bluntly told an interviewer that he cannot be removed from his job.

Appearing on the cover of InStyle magazine in an interview conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell, Fauci said that he was an ‘apolitical person’ but that the ‘real and perceived built-up conflict’ with the Trump White House was making things ‘very stressful.’

The interview was released amid mounting internal White House attacks on Fauci, the nation’s foremost expert on infectious diseases, but also division among Trump courtiers on whether they should get into a public battle with the doctor.

Trump last week said that Fauci had ‘made a lot of mistakes,’ which was followed by unnamed White House officials releasing a ‘dirt file’ of those alleged mistakes, the file being disowned by the White House press secretary, and the president insisting on Monday that relations were good. 

Fauci is pictured during a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office earlier this year as the outbreak was beginning to spread aross the US

Fauci is pictured during a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office earlier this year as the outbreak was beginning to spread aross the US

But then on Tuesday night Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade advisor, published an op-ed in USA Today accusing the expert of being ‘wrong about everything’ – and then that too was slapped down, with the president saying Navarro should not have written it.

Fauci was asked by O’Donnell if he could be fired from the coronavirus task force, or his job as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Of the taskforce he said: ‘Well, I see myself in that role as long as I feel that I’m being useful, and I’m valued in it, and the White House wants me. If any of the above change, then I would step down.’

But asked if the president could fire him as director of the NIA, he bluntly said: ‘No.’

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