‘Hannibal Lecter or Darth Vader’? Trump wears mask in public for 1st time, providing meme fodder for critics

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‘Hannibal Lecter or Darth Vader’? Trump wears mask in public for 1st time, providing meme fodder for critics
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12 July 2020
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US President Donald Trump wears a mask while visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, US, July 11, 2020 ©  Reuters / Tasos Katopodis

US President Donald made his first public appearance wearing a mask (dressed up with a presidential seal), during a visit to a military hospital where he met wounded soldiers and healthcare workers.

On his way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington, the US leader explained why he finally decided to don a face covering, arguing that he’s “never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place.”

I think when you're in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask.

While many Trump supporters claimed he looked “very cool and presidential,” his critics unleashed a barrage of memes, blasting the president for “finally doing something right” after months of refusing to don a face covering and “discouraging” his fans from doing so.

As the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, infecting over 3.2 million Americans and resulting in nearly 135,000 deaths to date, Trump never appeared in public wearing a mask.

Opponents accused Trump of setting a bad example of social distancing for millions of his supporters, while the US leader blamed critics for politicizing the face covering and wearing them as a “sign of disapproval” of his presidency.

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