July 10, 2020 / 3:00 AM / a month ago

Trump says he expects to wear a mask when he visits military hospital

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a protective face mask with a presidential seal on it that he said he had been wearing earlier in his tour as Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett looks on at the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant that is manufacturing ventilators, masks and other medical supplies during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Ypsilanti, Michigan, U.S., May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, who has avoided being seen wearing a face covering in public, said on Thursday he expects to wear a mask when he next visits U.S. troops at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington.

“I expect to be wearing a mask when I go into Walter Reed. You’re in a hospital setting. I think it’s a very appropriate thing. I have no problem with a mask,” Trump told Fox News in an interview.

Trump said he would be visiting wounded soldiers as well as front-line workers seeking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic when he visits the government medical facility in Bethesda, Maryland.

Trump did not say when he would visit, and the White House did not immediately respond to a query about his schedule. CNN has previously reported Trump plans to go on Saturday.

It was unclear whether Trump might be photographed wearing a mask since such visits are often closed to the media to protect the privacy of the wounded soldiers.

Trump, who had become increasingly isolated within the Republican Party for not promoting wearing a mask, has in recent weeks spoken more favorably about their use as COVID-19 cases have surged in the United States.

More than 60,500 new COVID-19 infections were reported across the United States on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, setting a one-day record as weary Americans were told to take new precautions and the pandemic becomes increasingly politicized.

Reporting By Eric Beech and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Michael Perry

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