In the top, essentially the most shocking facet of President Donald J. Trump’s resolution to lastly, months after his personal advisers really useful it, bow to medical knowledge and put on a face masks was not that he did it in any respect — even in his alternate actuality, the place we’re successful towards the virus, that was in all probability inevitable — however the masks that he selected.
After all, his first masks was by no means going to be simply one other masks. He needed to have recognized everybody could be trying, given his earlier refusal to don face protecting. He needed to have recognized the choice could be studied and parsed. He is nothing if not an knowledgeable at branding. And masks are quick turning into a wanting shorthand for self-branding: a extremely seen and easy-to-read identifier of self for the world. That’s why they hold being talked about as a trend/political assertion (trend being primarily pushed by identification politics, whenever you come right down to it).
So, for his go to to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, what did he go for?
Not a generic white or blue masks, the type that subsumes the private to the neighborhood. Not — as one may need anticipated — a shiny crimson MAGA masks, the facial equal of the well-known baseball cap (they exist already, promoting for $19.99 and “shipping from the great state of Pennsylvania” by Trump2020Masks). Not one with the form of gold “TRUMP” emblem well-known from so lots of his actual property ventures. Not even one which displayed any humor or sports activities preferences.
Rather he selected a easy navy blue protecting: a plain rectangle that matched his signature swimsuit in addition to the masks worn by the members of the army and Secret Service who flanked him, although his additionally had a gold presidential seal embossed in a backside nook. Still, it was comparatively delicate; the equal of a darkish swimsuit for the face. Above the masks, his trademark squint was seen.
Unfortunately, at a sure level, his nostril was seen, too — a mistake that obviates the effectiveness of the masks as a safety for others, or the picture of himself as a mask-wearing position mannequin, since what he ended up modeling was how to not put on it. But it was a begin!
Despite that, and maybe as constructive reinforcement of the trouble, lots of his supporters had been fast to weigh in on his platform of alternative, Twitter, to crow about how good it regarded.
Mr. Trump’s reluctance to don a masks up to now appeared linked to a perception that it will in some way make him look weak — as if he had caved in to the virus or was afraid of it — to not point out serving as a visible taunt to the mask-wearing Democrats (particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has made her variety of masks a personal trademark). But when it finally happened, the whole thing seemed pretty unremarkable. Anticlimactic, even.
Even kind of … boring.
And it made for a notable contrast with the other major mask-moment of the weekend: Roger Stone’s appearance, post-Presidential commutation of his prison sentence, in a black-and-white mask blaring the words: “Free Roger Stone!” (It matched his T-shirt, which read “Roger Stone Still Did Nothing Wrong,” also in white letters on black.)
It’s rare to consider the president restrained in his messaging, but in comparison to Mr. Stone, his mask looked positively understated. However, that could well change, especially on the campaign trail.