President Donald Trump was photographed attending a fundraiser in Texas without a mask and with no visibly enforced social distancing, as coronavirus cases surge in the state.
As of Wednesday, the US has more than 4.4 million confirmed cases, and the death toll surpassed 150,000. In the state of Texas alone more than 421,000 coronavirus infections have been reported, and nearly 6,800 people have died from COVID-19.
Trump traveled to the Double Eagle Energy oil rig in Texas to speak on the oil and gas industry, railing against Democrats’ clean energy policies.
“We are telling the Washington politicians trying to abolish American energy: Don’t mess with Texas,” Trump said at the event, according to a report by The Texas Tribune.
The president was expected to attend the event with GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, but the congressman tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before the event took place.
Gohmert repeatedly refused to wear a mask on the House floor, saying in an interview with CNN last month that he would only wear a mask only if he contracted the virus. His diagnosis prompted several lawmakers he had contact with to quarantine. He was also in contact with US Attorney General Bill Barr, who is monitoring for symptoms.
In a change of heart, Trump recently said he was “all for” masks and has suggested it was “patriotic” to wear one after months of refusing to wear one in public and condemning its use as a political ploy.
The president was publicly photographed wearing a mask for the first time while visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on July 11. He claimed he wore one because he did not want to “spread anything” to the soldiers at the hospital.
Health experts have recommended wearing a face mask to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. While not 100% effective, studies have shown that face coverings do contain some droplets that may have viral particles. Experts have also advised people to practice maintaining at least six feet between one another and advised against large group gatherings.
News – Trump attended a fundraiser in Texas without a mask on the day the US hit 150,000 coronavirus deaths