Donald Trump was rarely photographed wearing a mask during his presidency as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the country to a standstill, but a former White House aide says his reason had less to do with the virus and more to do with vanity.
In her memoir “Enough,” Cassidy Hutchinson, the close aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, recalls an incident in which Trump noticed his makeup had been smudged from wearing a N-95 mask.
“I slowly shook my head,” she writes of her reaction to Trump choosing a white mask, per an account from The Guardian ahead of the book’s release next week. “The president pulled the mask off and asked why I thought he should not wear it.
“I pointed at the straps of the N95 I was holding. When he looked at the straps of his mask, he saw they were covered in bronzer,” she says in the book.
“Why did no one else tell me that,” he snapped. “I’m not wearing this thing.”
“The press would criticize him for not wearing a mask,” Hutchinson continues, “not knowing that the depth of his vanity had caused him to reject masks – and then millions of his fans followed suit.”
The former president was hospitalized with COVID-19 himself in October 2020, but Hutchinson’s memoir recounts another event when Trump ordered people who had tested positive to not only enter the Oval Office but also take off their masks.
As recounted by The Guardian, which obtained an early copy of the memoir, several of a group of Pennsylvania legislators tested positive for COVID on Thanksgiving Eve 2020. As Hutchinson prepared to only take those who tested negative into the Oval Office, she says Trump ordered, “I said everyone! Bring them all! Bring them all now!”
Doctors “immediately urged me to push back,” she writes, but she followed Trump’s orders. Once everyone was in the office, Trump “instructed the masked guests to take off their masks. He assured them it was more important for him to see their beautiful faces, said he was not worried about contracting the virus.”
“Enough” hits bookstores on Tuesday.