(UPDATE at bottom of blog.)
Donald Trump gave a presidential press conference from the Rose Garden on Friday, updating the American public on the development of a vaccine for Coronavirus. During the press conference, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins seemed perturbed that some people speaking from behind the podium, including the President, were not wearing a mask. Based on her line of questioning, it would seem as if Collins saw wearing a mask as a matter of utmost importance. So why did she rip it off right and stand close to other journalists?
Collins asked the President “why are some of you wearing a mask and why are some of you not wearing a mask?” Trump responded by telling her, “We’ve all been tested and we’re quite a distance away and we’re outdoors.” He noted that he gave the people that were joining him in the press conference the option of whether or not to wear a mask.
Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave a White House press briefing indoors. The limited space in the press briefing room makes social distancing much more difficult. Therefore, it would seem even more important to wear a mask.
But Collins didn’t seem to think so. As soon as the press briefing ended, Collins removed her mask; as if, for her, wearing it in the first place merely constituted a photo op.She was standing close to others and left the room not wearing a mask.
Below is a screen shot of her taking the mask off. For more, see Western Journalism's write-up.
Taking a look at Collins’ Twitter feed, she appears to see herself as the “mask police,” always taking note of which members of the Trump administration and the coronavirus task force are wearing a mask and which ones are not. If Collins really sees wearing a mask as a best practice for preserving public health, then she should lead by example...not just when the camera is rolling. Otherwise, it sure looks like she believes in “masks for thee but not for me.”
UPDATE: 5-17-2020 9:25 PM.
Collins responded on Twitter, complaining about attention to her taking the mask off.
A transcript of Collins’ exchange with the President is below.
Presidential Press Conference
May 15, 2020
KAITLAN COLLINS: Mr. President, can you just clarify, why are some of you wearing a mask and why are some of you not wearing a mask?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ve all been tested. I’ve been tested, we’ve all been tested and we’re quite a distance away and we’re outdoors. So, I told them…I gave them the option; they can wear it or not. So, you can blame it on me but I gave them the option. We can wear it or not.