It’s become painfully clear over the past few years how much Donald Trump listens to hosts on Fox News, but we may soon find out the extent of their influence. On Monday morning, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy pressed Republican leaders why Trump is so reluctant to publicly wear a face mask and encourage their use.
“If the president wore one, it would just set a good example. He’d be a good role model. I don’t see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public,” Doocy told Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel. “‘MAGA’ should now stand for ‘Masks Are Great Again.’”
Doocy hit on the same theme in an interview with Republican leader Kevin McCarthy:
“He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to wear a mask, but his federal government said everybody should wear a mask. Don’t you think it would be a powerful symbol if the President of the United States would put on a mask and would understand what so many people around the country are doing to slow the spread of this thing?”
And Doocy wasn’t the only one making this point. Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News regular, said Tuesday that Trump should wear a mask. He added, though, that “masks don’t work as well as people are touting.” Monday night, even Sean Hannity endorsed mask wearing. He did not call out Trump though.
Leaders of the GOP, excluding Trump, are also calling on people to wear masks. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor Monday. “We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people.” Vice-President Mike Pence, who has been seen in a mask much more than Trump, also encouraged masks over the weekend.
If none of these people can get Trump to change his tune on masks, which he’s mocked reporters for wearing, maybe Goldman Sachs’ chief economist can. In a note to clients reported by CNBC Tuesday, Jan Hatzius wrote that a national mask mandate “could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP.”