White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday said a national mandate to wear masks or face coverings “is not in order,” as states experience a surge in cases of the novel coronavirus amid their phased reopening.
Meadows was asked Monday during an interview with “Fox & Friends” whether there should be a federal mandate on wearing masks, or whether the decision should be left up to the states, as some governors tighten existing orders requiring masks in spaces where social distancing is not possible and others issue new orders for their states.
“Well, it’s certainly a state-to-state issue, as we look across the country, obviously the narrative is the COVID cases are rising, but testing is rising exponentially. We’ve now tested almost 10 percent of our country,” Meadows said.
“And yet when we look at masks and the wearing of masks, that's done on a location basis, when you can’t have social distancing, but certainly a national mandate is not in order,” he continued. “We’re allowing governors and mayors to weigh in on that.”
Meanwhile, the president is heading to New Hampshire later this week for a campaign-style rally, and Meadows suggested masks could be required.
“Obviously we’re looking forward to being in the Granite State and as we look at that it's more a factor of precaution,” he said. “We’re a nation of freedoms and certainly we want to make sure people are free to assemble.”
Meadows went on to say that as states and businesses begin to open, masks should be used if appropriate.
“President Trump mentioned he is willing to wear a mask if appropriate in tight quarters,” Meadows said. “I know a number of us have done the same and it’s all to make sure that we deal with the virus and make sure the American people know that help is on the way.”
He added: “When we had testing problems, this president acted. When we had problems with ventilators, this president acted. When we had problems with PPP, this president acted.”
“And there is good news on the way,” he said. “Whether it’s therapeutics or a vaccine, help is on the way. We will be able to make sure that we deliver those by the end of the year.”
Meadows’ comments come as states across the country begin implementing new mask mandates and tightening existing ones.
As of Monday, the United States reported more than 2.88 million positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 132,000 deaths.