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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."

Go deeper: Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Biden receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

President-elect Joe Biden publicly received his second dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Monday in Newark, Delaware.

Why it matters: Biden's effort to bolster public confidence in the vaccine, which has been found by the FDA to be safe and 95% effective, comes after an alarming number of Americans polled in December said they would reject a vaccine.

Jan 11, 2021 - Health

States open coronavirus vaccine "megasites" at stadiums, fairgrounds

Los Angeles is turning its testing site at Dodger Stadium into a vaccination site. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

States across the U.S. are opening stadiums, fairgrounds, convention centers and other large spaces as COVID-19 vaccine "megasites" as they ramp distribution of the shots.

Driving the news: Many states are moving to the next phase of the biggest vaccination drive in history, making vaccines available to new groups, including seniors, teachers, first responders and other essential workers.