Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday pressed Lara Trump, an adviser to father-in-law President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, to explain why her family declined to comply with the mask requirement at the first presidential debate last month.
Members of the first family arrived wearing masks but removed them while in the audience for the Sept. 29 event at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic. The venue required all guests to wear masks.
NBC reporter Marianna Sotomayor said she saw one of the clinic’s doctors remind the Trumps to wear masks and even offer them extras. The doctor walked away looking frustrated after none of them complied, Sotomayor reported.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his family wore masks.
“Did you think, Lara, that the rules that applied to everybody else in that hall didn’t apply to you?” Wallace, who moderated the debate, asked on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Well, of course we didn’t think that!” Lara Trump said. “I want to be very clear. Never one time did anyone from Cleveland Clinic come up and ask any member of our family to put a mask on. So that is totally false.”
Lara Trump insisted that guests were socially distanced, and they had all tested negative for COVID-19. The event was held just days after the Sept. 26 Rose Garden “superspreader” event ― where non-socially distanced attendees did not wear masks ― that was likely the source of more than two dozen COVID-19 cases, including Donald and Melania Trump.
Wallace reminded his guest that “everybody in that hall had tested negative.”
“You couldn’t get in the hall without testing negative,” he said. “And the fact is, the rules were, everybody except the president, the vice president and I were supposed to wear masks.”
He also noted that it was the White House press pool report that mentioned the doctor’s request.
“I’m not just making this up,” he said, adding that there was video of a Cleveland Clinic staffer “coming up to somebody in the presidential party and saying, ‘Would you like masks?’ And they were waved away.”
During the debate, Donald Trump mocked Biden for his routine use of masks. He continued to flout mask-wearing advice even after testing positive for COVID-19 later that week.
Watch the interview below.
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