Campaign organizers hope the masks, meant to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, will help Trump woo older voters who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 — and who are increasingly supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden amid the pandemic, according to the Journal. They’ll be handed out free or provided in exchange for a campaign a donation, the newspaper reported.
The masks are an ironic touch, given that the president dismissed the threat of COVID-19 as recently as March. He also doesn’t wear protective masks and has indicated he has no intention of ever wearing one.
Vice President Mike Pence triggered controversy Tuesday when he ignored a Mayo Clinic requirement to wear a mask during a tour of the medical complex. He was the only person in sight without one as he greeted health care workers and at least one patient.
In a fact-follows-fiction twist, “Saturday Night Live” in February mocked the Trump administration’s fumbling response to COVID-19 with a sketch featuring Beck Bennett as Pence and Kenan Thompson as Housing Secretary Dr. Ben Carson pitching “Make America Great Again” masks. The masks could be purchased from the White House, but “it may take a couple months for delivery because they are made in Wuhan, China,” Thompson’s Carson cautioned.
Trump has trailed Biden nationally among voters 65 and older in four national Wall Street Journal/NBC New polls this year. Trump won 52% of those voters against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to exit polls.
In another bid to woo older voters, Trump’s campaign on Sunday will begin airing a TV ad aimed at beefing up his profile as a fighter against COVID-19.
The Trump campaign couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the masks.
Critics on Twitter loved the mask idea — if only to skewer it.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- How long are asymptomatic carriers contagious?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- How to switch off from work when home is your office
- 8 sleep tips if coronavirus anxiety is keeping you up at night
- How long does coronavirus live in the air?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.