A U.S. senator kept taking off his mask on a flight, raising questions about safety oversight

The next day, the Trump administration rejected a union petition calling for a federal mandate requiring masks be worn on planes, trains and buses, saying the Department of Transportation “embraces the notion that there should be no more regulations than necessary.”

The developments bracketed President Trump’s own announcement early Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and undercut safety assurances from top Republican policymakers who say federal mandates should take a back seat to state, local and private actions in fighting the coronavirus, union officials and others said.

Nearly 11,000 people have been exposed to the coronavirus on flights, the CDC says

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was on a Delta flight to Jackson on Thursday when he was spotted with his mask off by passenger Matt Harringer, a Democratic media consultant.

Harringer provided three time-stamped photos — one at 8:37 p.m. while the plane was on the ground, one at 9:27 and one at 9:46, as the plane was preparing for landing — showing Wicker with a blue surgical mask hanging beneath his mouth or under his chin.