The media criticized President Donald Trump on Friday for not wearing a mask during an outdoor ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II victory in Europe.
The wreath-laying ceremony took place outdoors on Friday at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, where seven World War II veterans joined the president and first lady.
“Mr. President, you were with seven American heroes earlier today — these World War II veterans–all in their nineties,” ABC News White House correspondent Jon Karl said to President Trump at a White House meeting with Republicans. “Did you consider wearing a mask when you were with them, given they’re in a vulnerable [position].”
The president noted that he was “very far away” from the veterans and was outside, where the wind was blowing.
“The wind was blowing so hard in such a direction that if the plague ever reached them, I’d be very surprised,” Trump said, and added, “The wind was howling, and I didn’t see anybody with a mask.”
President Trump and the first lady spoke with each veteran from a distance after the ceremony.
“I would’ve loved to have gone up and hugged them because they’re great,” Trump said. “I had a conversation with everyone, but we were very far away.”
In a press briefing that day, Karl also asked White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany why the president did not wear a mask at the ceremony, as one of his valets tested positive for the virus.
“Did he give any consideration to wearing a mask, given that his valet just tested positive, and he’s with some of those in the most vulnerable population?” Karl asked.
McEnany said President Trump was regularly tested for the virus and that the veterans chose to be at the ceremony at the outdoor World War II Memorial.
“They made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first,” she said. “They wanted to be with their Commander-in-Chief on this momentous day. She added, “I can tell you that the President always puts the safety of our veterans first and of the American people first.”