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Trump says he looks like Lone Ranger in a mask and likes it

After long resisting wearing a mask in public, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he thinks it makes him look like the Lone Ranger — and he likes it.

“I’m all for masks. I think masks are good,” Trump told Fox Business in an interview. "People have seen me wearing one.”

Trump’s comments came a day after Republican lawmakers suggested that the president wear a mask in public to set a good example for Americans.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Students for Trump conference at Dream City Church, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP PhotoRoss D. Franklin)

“If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely," Trump said in the interview.

Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask. In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures were difficult to maintain.

Trump immediately undercut the CDC guidance by flatly stating that he wouldn’t be following it, suggesting it would be unseemly for the commander in chief to wear a mask as he meets with heads of states.

On Wednesday, he sounded a different tone, saying, “I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked. OK. I thought it was OK. It was a dark black mask, and I thought it looked OK.

“It looked like the Lone Ranger,” he continued, a reference to the fictional law-and-order character from the American Old West who wore a black eye mask. "I have no problem with that, and if people feel good about it, they should do it.”

In recent days, many Republicans and members of the White House coronavirus task force team have been more outspoken in advocating for Americans to wear face masks in public settings as infections have surged in huge swaths of the South and West.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, said last week that he would pursue a federal mask mandate, if elected.

But Trump continues to frame mask wearing as a matter of choice.

“If people feel good about it, they should do it,” Trump said.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday noted that Trump is regularly tested for the coronavirus, as are his aides. White House visitors and members of the media who are in close proximity to him and Vice President Mike Pence are also tested.

“I’ve said wear them, the first lady has said wear them, the president’s administration has said wear them,” Conway said.

Trump also told Fox Business that “people have seen me wearing one.” Only one image has surfaced of Trump in a mask — he donned one for part of a tour of a Ford facility in Michigan last month.

Other world leaders, including Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron, have worn masks in public to encourage their use.

Trump on Wednesday also continued to push back against the notion that some states may have been too quick to open up. Several states, including Florida, New York and Texas, have paused or slowed down reopening amid the recent increase in confirmed cases.

Trump suggested Democrats are hyping concerns about the spike to politically damage him.

“I think the Democrats would like to see the country stay closed as long as possible because they figure that’s probably good for the election, because it would be bad a little bit for jobs, and maybe a lot for jobs,” Trump said.