Oct 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign adviser: Biden has "too often used the mask as a prop"

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to President Trump's re-election campaign, argued on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Joe Biden has often "used the mask as a prop" and defended the campaign's handling of the coronavirus even as Trump remained in the hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Why it matters: Trump has rarely worn a mask in public and often downplayed its usefulness. A large coronavirus outbreak in the White House has infected over a dozen people in Trump's inner circle, including many who attended a Rose Garden celebration to announce Amy Coney Barrett as the nominee for Supreme Court Justice. Photos of the event show hardly anyone wearing a mask.

What he's saying: "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos pushed Miller on why the president had mocked "former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask and reporters who wore a mask" and why Trump had been so "cavalier" about mask-wearing at his rallies and elsewhere.

  • "We take it seriously. It's why we give everyone coming to rallies or to events, we give them a mask. We check their temperature," Miller said. 
  • "You know, I would say that with regard to Joe Biden, I think too often he's used the mask as a prop. A mask is very important, but even if he's — he could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person and still have the mask on," Miller added.
  • "That's not going to change anything that's out there. But also we've seen with — with Joe Biden, I mean, we can't all just stay in our basement for the rest of our lives."

Of note: Even after close Trump aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed with COVID-19, Trump attended a New Jersey fundraiser despite knowing he'd been exposed to the virus.

  • Trump has been in the hospital since Friday. On Saturday night he released a video message that he was "starting to feel good."
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News late Saturday that Trump's blood oxygen level had "dropped rapidly" after he was diagnosed, but he's now "doing well."

The other side: Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield appeared on the show later and said Miller's comments "tells you a lot of what you need to know about how the Trump campaign has treated this from the outset."

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