POTUS’s final message to Americans.
Trump thought wearing masks made him and others around him look weak and afraid, says a White House aide. He routinely scowled when he saw aides wearing masks, and for months during the pandemic would say he couldn’t hear or understand officials speaking to him with masks on, according to two current and one former aide.
By mid-summer, when Americans had lived circumscribed, fearful lives for months, even some voters who had supported Trump in 2016 were souring on his leadership during this national emergency. “It’s a ‘don’t care’ attitude,” a teacher’s assistant in Ft. Lauderdale, FL said on a focus group … in July, which TIME observed. “This is a time in crisis. You’re supposed to be with us. And I can’t see it.”
In September, the White House’s careless approach to safety during the pandemic caught up with it. In a matter of weeks, more than 30 people in Trump’s orbit came down with COVID-19, including senior counselor Hope Hicks, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, First Lady Melania Trump and the President.