CNN’s Tapper Grills HHS Sec: Doesn’t Trump ‘Undermine’ Your Message by Holding Rallies, Refusing to Wear a Mask?


CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on how President Donald Trump’s actions contradicted the department’s guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During a broad-range discussion with Azar, Tapper noted that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) just gave an interview to CNN and said Trump ought to wear a mask in order to counteract the political stigmas that have been attached to wearing them.

“It would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do,” said Alexander.

Tapper confronted Azar on this since Trump has been notably reluctant to wear a mask himself.

Don’t you think it undermines the message that you are trying to give, that the surgeon general is trying to give, that Doctors Birx and Fauci are trying to give, when President Trump not only refuses to wear a mask publicly, but he makes fun of people who wear masks and also holds rallies where no one is social distancing and no one is wearing a mask? Doesn’t that undermine the message that you are trying to give?

Azar chose to sidestep the question, saying “I am the president’s health secretary and I am telling people just what President Trump has said from day one in the reopening guidelines. Social distance, wear facial covering where you can’t practice social distancing, engage in appropriate personal hygiene.” He also encouraged people to “examine your own individual circumstances” whenever they go out and participate in political exercises.

The interview continued with Tapper noting the health hazards from Trump’s recent campaign events, and that the president’s campaign is not full effort to address them. Azar defended Trump by speaking to the president’s “unique position” in the country, and he continued to insist that “our message has been consistent” as far as public safety measures go.

“With all due respect, you, the surgeon general, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, yes. You’re all consistent, you’ve had one message,” Tapper countered. “President Trump and Vice President Pence are not having that message. They are not out there saying that masks are important. They are not out there demonstrating the importance of social distancing. They are holding rallies in which individuals are not social distancing at all.”

The two of them continued by locking horns over Trump’s craving for an in-person Republican National Convention in Florida, which has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Watch above, via CNN.

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