Trump Never Would Have Been Pro-Mask

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James Surowieki wonders why masks weren’t the favored solution of conservatives in America. They are about individual initiative, they’re cheap, and initially the scientific experts were against them.

You can come up with all sorts of explanations for why Trump didn’t embrace masks in mid-March (by which point he was admitting that the pandemic was a problem). But honestly it feels random, like if the right person had had his ear, he could easily have gone the other way.

— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) June 30, 2020

I remember at the beginning of this crisis, I vainly wished Trump’s germaphobe instincts had kicked in. But upon reflection, I don’t think Trump ever would have been pro-mask.

Trump is a showman, and he cares about the look and “feel” of things. And I would bet the family farm that he believes masks put their wearers into a more fearful, downcast mindset, rather than a confident one. And further, that he believes this “mood” of the country plays a huge role in his reelection. His religious upbringing is about the power of positive thinking. And his approach throughout the crisis has been to project confidence. Masks don’t fit into it.

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