Day 1,208: Nothing embodies Trump’s selfishness and vanity like making everyone in the White House wear a mask but him

There are new rules in the White House aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the wake of multiple people testing positive over the past week.

As of Monday everyone must wear a mask when anywhere in the West Wing, unless they’re sitting at their desks.

The White House Management Office issued a memo that afternoon requiring West Wing staffers to wear masks or other facial coverings at all times in the building, except at their own desks. Additional new procedures include daily testing for the majority of West Wing staff and additional teleworking depending on the office, according to two senior administration officials.

Everyone, that is, except for Donald Trump.

This strikes to the core of Trump. Most masks are far more effective protecting others from the wearer’s spread of possible disease than they are protecting oneself from others.

Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. Luckily, blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth mask.

Trump’s refusal to wear a mask is tacitly saying, ‘I need to be protected from your germs, but you don’t need to be protected from mine.’ Yet if there’s a group of people Trump would want to protect most, it should be people in the White House, since they include many members of his family and his closest confidants.

For Trump, there’s the obvious vanity issue, which seems more important to him than anything else. (This is a man who complained that the White House lights make him “look orange.”) Last week, when visiting a mask manufacturer, he told reporters he wore a mask “backstage,” like he was getting ready for the filming of the next episode of The Apprentice: Coronavirus. But he refused to wear one with cameras present and noted that a tiny group of others weren’t either.

His example of wearing a mask would cause many, many more Americans to wear masks in public, preventing the spread of the disease and saving lives. One simple, selfless act is all that’s necessary and he won’t do it because it would cover his face.

Also Monday, Trump held a press conference to tout the amount of testing that the U.S. has done, despite lagging behind many of their peers, whether looking at per capita rates, timing or daily volume. Trump keep promoting one raw aggregate number, but many countries, such as South Korea, have slowed down the number of tests administered because they were quick to implement them and they virtually stopped the spread.

Absent all evidence, Trump bragged that the country has “prevailed” against the disease, as more than 80,000 people in the country have died from it, with many projections expecting a final death count to double that figure.

He later ended that same press conference with a temper tantrum. After he was asked why he makes testing figures into a global competition, Trump nonsensically told an Asian-American reporter to “ask China,” before storming off.

While Trump wasn’t wearing a mask, reporters and his aides all were.

1,208 days in, 254 to go

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.