The Slatest

Trump Campaign Adviser Says Biden Has Often “Used the Mask as a Prop”

Trump makes a smirky face while holding a face mask and speaking at a lectern.
President Donald Trump holds a face mask as he speaks during the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. Jim Watson/Getty Images

Even as President Donald Trump remains in the hospital, his campaign continues to imply there’s something political about someone being careful and wearing face masks as much as possible. “I’d say that with regard to Joe Biden, I think too often he’s used the mask as a prop,” Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser for Trump, said on ABC’s This Week. “A mask is very important, but … he could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person and still have the mask on. That’s not going to change anything that’s out there.”

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Miller went on to mock Biden, suggesting he was choosing to hide, something that wasn’t an option for the president or his allies. “With Joe Biden, I mean, we can’t all just stay in our basement for the rest of our lives,” Miller said. “We have to get out there and live our lives and take this on, develop the vaccine, develop more therapeutics, and defeat it.”

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Anchor George Stephanopoulos pushed back on Miller’s assertion, saying the president clearly needed to tackle the issue “head-on” but that he still held rallies and events in which wearing masks was not a priority. “He didn’t have to mock former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask and reporters who wore masks. He didn’t have to continue to go to event after event without wearing a mask,” Stephanopoulos said. Miller said he disagreed with the characterization, in part by saying that Trump is “one of the most tested people in the entire country,” again putting a spotlight on how the White House has often used testing to replace masks despite recommendations from public health experts.

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Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, appeared on the This Week after Miller and said his comments about the former vice president’s use of masks illustrates how the Republican campaign has not taken the issue seriously. “I think that tells you a lot of what you need to know about how the Trump campaign has treated this from the outset,” Bedingfield said.

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