Joe Biden Calls Trump 'an Absolute Fool' for Ignoring Mask Recommendations After President's Jab

"Every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd," the presidential hopeful said on CNN on Tuesday

Joe Biden, Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and President Donald Trump. Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images; BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images)

Joe Biden is calling Donald Trump a "fool" for ignoring health experts' recommendations to wear a mask in public to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

After both politicians were seen at separate Memorial Day events on Monday and Trump took a jab at Biden's choice to wear a mask on Twitter, Biden responded in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash.

"He's a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way," Biden told Bash on Tuesday. "I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd. Especially when you know you're going to be in a position where you're gonna inadvertently get closer than 12 feet to somebody."

"It's costing people's lives," Biden added.

Since early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to wear masks or face coverings in public where social distancing of six feet was difficult, such as in stores or more crowded areas. The novel coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets like those from breathing, coughing and sneezing.

When asked if he believes that wearing a mask is the marker of strength or weakness, as some argue Trump seems to think, Biden answered neither.

Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

"Leadership," he said. "What it presents and projects is leadership."

"Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine," Biden added. "It reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They'd walk around with a ball in their hand but didn't like to hit very much."

On Monday, Trump retweeted a post from Fox News analyst Brit Hume that implied Biden's choice of a mask was unbecoming.

"This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public. Biden today," Hume wrote alongside a photo of Biden wearing a black cloth face mask and aviator sunglasses.

During Tuesday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed Biden's mask, saying, "It is a bit peculiar, though, that in his basement, right next to his wife, he's not wearing a mask. But he's wearing one outdoors when he's socially distant. So I think that there was a discrepancy there."

At a separate event on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that he had not actually slammed Biden's choice of a mask in public.

"I wasn't criticizing him at all," he argued. "Why would I ever do anything like that?"

Echoing McEnany, he said: "Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife — perfect conditions, perfect weather. They're inside and they don't wear masks. And so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on. But I thought that was fine."

Despite the CDC's recommendation that Americans wear face masks while in public, Trump has previously said that he won't be following those guidelines himself.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump tours the Ford Rawsonville Plant, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21, 2020. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

"The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure," Trump said last month. "It’s voluntary, so you don’t have to do it."

"I just don’t want to wear one myself," Trump added to reporters at the time. "I don’t see it for myself. Maybe I’ll change my mind."

Trump wore a mask in private earlier this month during a visit to a Ford factory producing medical supplies and personal protective equipment, but took it off for the public portions of his appearance. State officials had asked him to wear a face covering and Ford executives had "encouraged" it as well.

"I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," he said at the time.

"Here is my mask, right here," he told reporters during the factory tour, holding a face covering. "And I like it very much. I actually — honestly, I think I looked better in the mask. I really did."

There have been more than 1.6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of Tuesday, with more than 98,000 deaths.

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