Donald Trump wears face mask in public for first time in coronavirus crisis
11 July 2020, 23:43 | Updated: 12 July 2020, 12:56
Donald Trump has publicly worn a face covering for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began.
The US president was pictured in a black covering during a visit to wounded service members at a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
He briefly wore the covering, which carried the US President's badge, while touring the facility on Saturday.
He has previously repeatedly declined to wear a mask in public during the pandemic when pressed by reporters.
This is despite his top health officials urging the American public to wear facial coverings in public.
Ahead of his visit to the National Military Medical Centre, Mr Trump told reporters: "I'll probably have a mask if you must know. I'll probably have a mask.
"I think when you're in a hospital especially in that particular setting, where you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table.
"I think it's a great thing to wear a mask. I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place."
According to CNN, Mr Trump's decision to wear a mask followed "pleading" by aides who urged him to set an example to his supporters.
Official guidance from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention - the US Government's equivalent of Public Health England - says they should be worn "in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain".
However, masks have become a political flashpoint in America - with many branding the guidance an encroachment on civil liberties.
Mr Trump and his supporters have previously accused critics of his lack of mask wearing - including US presidential hopeful Joe Biden - of being "politically correct" and the "mask police".
During a visit to a Ford plant in Michigan in May, Mr Trump said he did not want to give into media criticism by wearing a mask.