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Chuck Todd Confronts HHS Sec. Azar: Have You Asked Trump Directly to Tell People to Wear Masks?

Chuck Todd confronted HHS Sec. Alex Azar on Meet the Press Sunday over President Donald Trump not being as forceful as public health officials in talking up the need for mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Todd noted Azar bringing up masks multiple times as they talked, contrasting that with the messaging from the White House:

“Without the President of the United States doing this, how is half the country going to listen? Have you directly asked the president to please ask the country to wear a mask?”

“So I’m the president’s secretary of health. I’m telling you, practice social distancing where you can’t appropriately social distance,” Azar said. “We encourage you to wear a facial covering. The Vice President of the United States stood on stage, walked up on stage wearing a mask even though he doesn’t need to, in the sense that everyone around him is tested and he’s in a bubble.”

He pointed to the guidelines laid out by the administration about practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

Todd pointed out that Trump held two indoor rallies in the last week and “doesn’t talk about wearing a mask.”

“And you avoided my question whether you’ve asked the president to at least ask the country to wear a mask,” Todd said. “Just because you put guidelines under his name — when he doesn’t do it his people don’t listen.”

Azar responded, “I’m not going to talk about politics, but we’ve seen mass gatherings over the last several weeks with people rightly expressing First Amendment — and political views and this is appropriate, but my message is one of public health which is if you’re going to participate in any type of large gathering, I encourage you, consider your individual circumstance, consider the circumstance of those you live with and take appropriate precautions that are appropriate to yourself and your community.”

You can watch above, via NBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac