President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 and “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”
First lady Melania Trump, now exhibiting “mild” symptoms of coronavirus, has a mixed record on wearing face masks in public, but she’s been more pro-mask than her husband.
Her official Twitter account, which is less dramatic and prolific than President Donald Trump’s, has been her main way of communicating publicly about COVID-19 and safety precautions, including wearing a mask.
On Friday morning, Melania tweeted twice about her current status, having tested positive for coronavirus along with the president. She said they would be quarantined in the White House.
By Friday evening, she was still at the White House, after the president was flown on Marine One to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland for a precautionary few days. Her chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, confirmed to USA TODAY that Melania Trump did not go with him.
“She’s still at the White House, she’s doing well,” Grisham said in an email.
Earlier on Friday, the first lady tweeted that both of them were feeling good but were cancelling all appearances and campaigning for the time being.
“As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together,” she tweeted in the early hours of Friday.
Later, she tweeted again, thanking Trump supporters.
“Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery,” she posted.
Although the first lady, 50, comes in for almost as much criticism as her husband on Twitter, she has presented herself as concerned about protecting her family and others against the virus, including wearing a face mask.
She was pictured wearing masks earlier, even after the president dismissed them, and she has tweeted about the importance of wearing them and other protective guidelines multiple times.
In recent weeks, she’s been seen wearing masks in public at solo appearances or when she’s accompanying her husband. But both of them have also appeared in public maskless, as when the president announced his nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a Rose Garden ceremony on Sept. 26.
Since late April, the first lady’s official Twitter account, @Flotus, has displayed a short video tweet pinned to the top in which she gives out “practical advice” about protecting families and children from coronavirus. She is not wearing a mask.
In early April, she tweeted a close-up picture of herself wearing a white mask, apparently becoming the first Trump to do so. At the time, her husband and many senior administration figures were downplaying the need to wear masks.
“As the CDC studies the spread of #COVID-19, they recommend people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when social distancing can be hard to do. Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing,” her tweet read.
Another tweet on the same day featured a video of her wearing a white shirt, holding a mask and reading the CDC guidelines.
Her tweets attracted attention because they seemed to contradict her husband’s mixed messages on masks up to that point: He repeated the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance about masks, but didn’t want to wear one himself.
A week before her tweets, he said he told reporters he chose not to wear a mask because it would interfere with his ability to meet with foreign presidents, prime ministers and “dictators.”
“Somehow sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk,” Trump said, indicating he thought it would be uncomfortable wearing a mask as he met with “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens – I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself.”
First lady Melania Trump arrives for the first presidential debate Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)
“I don’t wear a mask like him,” Trump said of Biden at their first debate Tuesday. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from him and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Melania Trump has not publicly mocked or criticized anyone for wearing a mask. Neither has she explicitly criticized her husband’s earlier no-mask policy. She just puts one on in some situations.
In July, for instance, when she brought box lunches to a Washington, D.C., ministry that supports young mothers in the foster care system, she was wearing a mask, the first time she was seen in-person in public with one.
“Today I visited The Mary Elizabeth House, an inspiring place & supportive community for young women & children. I met w staff, mothers & children, & dropped off boxed lunches & #BeBest items to show my appreciation for their efforts to strengthen families in our community,” her tweet read, showing pictures of her surrounded by women and children, all wearing masks.
In the last month of engagements with the president and for solo appearances, she sometimes wore a mask and sometimes did not.
On Tuesday, when she accompanied the president to Cleveland for the first presidential debate, she wore a white mask when she entered the room but was pictured without one while seated during the debate.
Other members of Trump’s family at the debate were offered masks once they were seated but refused them, according to debate moderator Chris Wallace, speaking on Fox & Friends Friday.
But on Sept. 17, when Trump flew to Concord, New Hampshire, she wore a mask throughout her visit to a local hospital to participate in a round table discussion about treating babies born with drugs in their system.
For the Rose Garden ceremony to announce the nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, she, Barrett and the president were all mask-less.
When the first couple greeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Sept. 15, all four were mask-less inside and outside the White House, according to media photographs.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay respects as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at the Supreme Court building on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)
But on Sept. 24, when she and the president paid their respects to late Justice Ginsburg, both wore black masks as they stood beside her flag-draped coffin outside the front door of the Supreme Court.
Typically, the first lady does not wear masks during events inside the White House, as on Sept. 14 when she hosted a roundtable discussion on sickle cell disease in the State Dining Room, and on Sept. 11, when attended the presentation of the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas P. Payne, a ceremony in which his family members were present.
No one in the East Room that day wore a mask judging from media pictures.
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