Kellyanne Conway was met with some unusual resistance Wednesday on Fox News when she echoed President Donald Trump’s new messaging about the importance of wearing masks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
In an interview with “America’s Newsroom” host Martha MacCallum, the White House counselor preached about the benefits of face masks “to all those people out there who are resisting wearing a mask” ― which, until very recently, included the president, despite public health experts flagging mounting evidence indicating the effectiveness of masks since April.
“Listen, folks,” Conway said, “it costs nothing, it takes two seconds and you’ll get your liberties back sooner if you wear your mask.”
MacCallum interrupted: “But Kellyanne, I guarantee that there are people at home who’ll listen to that and say, ’Why didn’t the White House have this message for all of us two months ago?”
“Why now?” she added. “Why wasn’t this pushed and emphasized and encouraged by the president back then, when it might have made even more of a difference?”
Conway hedged that Trump “did say in April that if people want to wear a mask that they should wear a mask” and noted experts advised early on in the pandemic that wearing masks wouldn’t help.
“We know now that it would,” she said, adding that White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx briefed Trump a day earlier ― before his first coronavirus briefing in months ― that “we have these studies now that prove what we suspected: which is that masks help prevent you from spreading it.”
Health experts, including those at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, changed their guidance more than three months ago.
Trump largely resisted wearing a mask throughout the pandemic even as lawmakers in both parties implored him to lead by example. He began changing his tune in June, and he wore a mask in public for the first time this month, when the U.S. death toll surpassed 130,000 people and confirmed cases spiked across the country. In the months leading to this change, Trump said he resisted being seen in public wearing a mask because he didn’t want to “give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” and before that, because it would “send the wrong message.”
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