President Donald Trump pushed back on NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie during his Thursday evening town hall event.
The president took a question from a first-time voter — who said that she was leaning toward voting for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — about masks, and pushed back when Guthrie offered a series of follow-up questions. (RELATED: ‘Embarrassing Ratings Ploy’: Don Lemon Rips Into NBC For Allowing Trump To ‘Manipulate Them’)
“My parents are both front line health care workers, as you heard,” a new voter named Isabella began. “I’ve seen the physical and mental tolls this pandemic has taken on them firsthand. As well as the exacerbation of coronavirus due to Americans who are not wearing masks or participating in social distancing. After contracting COVID-19 yourself, has your opinion changed on the importance of mask wearing?”
Trump said his opinion hadn’t really changed because he had never had a problem with masks. “I was good with it.”
Trump went on to say that he had heard a number of conflicting reports on the efficacy of masks, and that many people who did wear masks ended up touching their faces and adjusting them.
“Look, look, you have, on the masks, you know, you have two stories,” Trump continued. “You have a story where they want, a story where they don’t want.”
“I don’t get that because all of your public health officials, your administration, they are in unison about this. They’re all in unison about it,” Guthrie pushed back, saying that models predicted 100% mask compliance could cut the number of deaths in half.
Trump mentioned Stanford’s Dr. Scott Atlas, and Guthrie interrupted him again.
“That’s not an infectious disease expert,” she said. She went on to say that Trump could use his power to require masks at his rallies and encourage more people to do so on a regular basis.
“Then you have other places say different things. Hey, Dr. Fauci said don’t wear a mask,” Trump replied.
“At first, but then everybody agreed,” Guthrie said.
“I don’t know, then he changed his mind but then you have a report coming out two days ago that 85% of the people wearing masks —” Trump pushed back again.
“I looked at that report, it’s not about mask wearing, it was neutral about masks,” Guthrie said.
“Savannah. Savannah. We’re on the same side, I say wear the masks, I’m fine with it. I have no problem, we’re on the same side,” Trump concluded as they cut to a break.
Fox News reporter Kristin Fisher noted earlier Thursday that the Trump campaign was asking rally attendees to wear masks, posting a photo of a sign outside the North Carolina venue where Trump spoke prior to the town hall.
spotted at today’s rally in Greenville, North Carolina pic.twitter.com/ZUunjkh9mw
— Kristin Fisher (@KristinFisher) October 15, 2020