Trump Ditches Mask as U.S. Death Toll Surpasses 150,000

President Donald Trump hands a pen to one of several people standing behind him at an event in Midland, Texas on July 29, 2020. (Gif: White House/YouTube)
President Donald Trump hands a pen to one of several people standing behind him at an event in Midland, Texas on July 29, 2020. (Gif: White House/YouTube)

U.S. President Donald Trump declined to wear a face mask at a photo-op for the oil industry in Midland, Texas on Wednesday, despite being in close proximity to several people in a state that’s crawling with the coronavirus. The decision to go maskless sent a decidedly anti-science message at a time when U.S. deaths from covid-19 have officially surpassed 150,000 — the worst death toll in the world. Texas alone saw over 9,000 new cases and 313 new deaths yesterday.

Trump’s choice to finally wear a mask publicly in July, after months of refusing to do so, prompted bizarre adulation from mainstream media outlets who insisted the president was turning over a new leaf. It was a bit like watching a parent praise their potty-training child for using the toilet correctly. But most Americans understood Trump’s “turnaround” was all bullshit.

Trump’s decision to forgo a mask is particularly galling given the time and place of the event yesterday, after a senior U.S. Republican Representative, Louie Gohmert, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. Gohmert was scheduled to attend the event in Texas and was even supposed to fly down with Trump in Air Force One, according to multiple reports.

The state of Texas has seen a surge in coronavirus cases over the past month, surpassing New York state’s total case count. Texas has now identified over 418,000 cases of the disease. New York, the former epicentre of the virus in the U.S., currently sits at over 413,000. At least 6,193 people have died in Texas from covid-19.

Photo: Evan Vucci, AP

Yesterday’s move is also in direct violation of the White House’s own guidelines about when to wear a face covering to help slow the spread of coronavirus during the pandemic, but that’s never stopped Trump before. The president is often at odds with experts of all stripes, especially those in public health.

Trump, perhaps better known as President Plague to that one cool Boomer aunt of yours (and the only family member you can actually tolerate at Thanksgiving), has overseen the worst American health crisis of the 21st century. The U.S. has identified at least 4.4 million cases of covid-19, and over 150,716 deaths as of Thursday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

Several photos from the event show the president within sneezing distance of people in Texas, most of whom weren’t wearing masks.

Photo: Evan Vucci, AP

Based on photos taken by the Associated Press, it appeared that some people in general attendance at the event were at least wearing masks.

Photo: Evan Vucci, AP

Yesterday, online sleuths were doing their best looking through photos of Louie Gohmert to see if he’d come in contact with any high-profile members of the Trump regime on Tuesday. Gohmert was at a congressional hearing with Attorney General Bill Bar, who walked just a couple of steps ahead, according to video posted online.

If you’re following along at home, there are plenty of people at Wednesday’s event who definitely came within six feet of the president, including Cody Campbell, co-CEO of Double Eagle Energy, and John Sellers, the other co-CEO of Double Eagle Energy.

There are also photos of Trump with the oil execs doing an atypical pose with his legs. The president sometimes briefly does this pigeon-toe pose for an unknown reason.

Photo: Evan Vucci, AP

What’s going on here with Trump’s feet? We couldn’t tell you. But it’s definitely more disturbing from a public health perspective that these oil executives aren’t maintaining social distance. In fact, from a public health perspective, these oil industry tycoons would do the world a favour if they just shut down their companies entirely. It’s the least they can do in a world racked by climate change and a deadly pandemic.