Hours before Trump shared the video Monday night, Birx, head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, was in Tennessee urging the state to mandate masks, close bars and limit indoor dining. Birx also made a plea for Trump’s supporters to wear masks.
“I hope if they’re a Donald Trump supporter and live in rural Tennessee and they heard him say masks are important, I hope they’re listening to that,” Birx said. Wearing masks is “the power that we have in our hands” to combat the spread, she added.
At least one governor and Trump supporter was unmoved: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he wouldn’t be closing bars or mandating masks statewide, despite Birx’s calls to do so. Trump ally Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday just before traveling with Trump on Air Force One, even suggested he may have gotten infected by wearing a mask…
“There is an understanding within the White House that we have got to get our arms around this, given the 90-day stretch we are heading into,” said the official, referring to the election home stretch, adding: “we weren’t expecting to see this kind of spike at this time.”