Despite Donald Trump’s recent battle with COVID-19, Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes is defending the first family’s decision not to wear masks at the presidential debate.
During a heated debate on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, Cortes said, “Everybody was tested before that event, as you well know.” But, Wallace fired back at Cortes, highlighting that the refusal to wear a mask was in direct violation of Cleveland Clinic guidelines.
“It doesn’t matter. Everybody that was in that room was tested, and the Cleveland Clinic’s regulation was, it didn’t matter,” Wallace said. “Everybody was told to wear a mask. Why did the first family and the chief of staff feel the rules for everybody didn’t apply to them?”
Cortes argued that while the rules were outlined, the family is entitled to make their own decision regarding wearing a mask.
“We also believe in some element of individual choice. People were distanced, and they had been tested,” Cortes said.
Trump had been admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md, on Friday after testing positive for coronavirus. Since then, a flurry of White House officials have also tested positive, including Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, aide Hope Hicks, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, and director of Oval Office operations Nick Luna.
Despite contracting the virus and reports that he had to receive oxygen, Trump continued to downplay the seriousness of the virus, even removing his mask upon returning to the White House after three days of treatment.
“They weren’t distanced, and there were rules, and there was no freedom of choice. They broke the rules. Why did they break the rules?” Wallace pressed, to which Cortes could only offer, “People can make reasonable decisions for themselves.”