On Tuesday, First Lady Melania Trump returned to the Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. to read holiday stories to young patients, a tradition she has upheld in her years at the White House. But, while she entered the building wearing a mask, upon sitting in front of the Christmas tree to read the children a book, she took her mask off — and then kept it off the entire time she was there. Last we checked, coronavirus is not only still around but is setting record numbers across the country. Also, just to make extra clear: She went maskless at a hospital for children.
Not only did Trump break hospital rules, but she broke city rules as well. Washington D.C. is currently experiencing a record surge in COVID-19 cases, and requires people wear masks in enclosed spaces. And while she practiced social distancing, according to CNN, the hospital’s policy specifically asks visitors to wear a mask at all times for the safety of its patients and to prevent the spread of coronavirus. "It is wonderful to be here. This is one of my favourite events during the holiday time and I'm very excited and looking forward to reading a book." said Trump. “I’m thinking of you all. Stay strong and well and Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”
While most children attended the reading virtually, there were children present who sat in front of Trump as she read. She reportedly did not put her mask back on as she left the hospital.
The First Lady tested positive for COVID-19 in early October alongside her husband, President Donald Trump; her son Barron also contracted the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even after infection, health experts recommend wearing a mask. Besides, at this point, it's simply being courteous and setting a good example to wear a mask in public. Be best, Melania! Be best.
That's not really her way, though, as in early December, the White House confirmed that it would continue to hold holiday parties despite the massive increase in cases around the country. Currently, in D.C., holiday gatherings are to be no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. These rules do not apply to the White House, which reportedly has at least 25 parties planned, each with around 50 guests. So far, there has been no testing in advance of these gatherings and countless incidents of attendees not wearing masks.
Flouting a hospital’s mask rules and endangering lives isn’t really a good look, especially for the First Lady. But then, spreading Christmas cheer has never really been her thing, whereas spreading the virus, apparently, has.