Schumer Is Now Wearing a Face Mask in Public

By Susan Jones | April 6, 2020 | 10:07am EDT
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN on Saturday that he is now wearing a mask in public when he goes for his daily walk in New York:

Yes, I walk -- I try to take an hour walk every day. I stay six feet away from people. Other than that, the only people I've seen since I got back from Washington 10 days ago in person are my wife, my daughter, my son-in-law, and my one-and-a-half-year-old grandson. When it's my hour-and-a-half to watch him, that's the most -- I'm busy all the time, I'm working all the time, but that's the most exhausting hour-and-a-half. You know when he pulls down the books, pulls the pots out of the closet.

But no. I am wearing -- yesterday for the first time, given the recommendations of the experts, I wore a mask. I didn't enjoy it, but you have to do it. One of the big problems here we've had from the beginning, we have to listen to the experts, the medical experts.

And there have been too many times when others, I won't name who, you can guess, have just ignored the military experts thinking -- I mean, sorry, the medical experts. We have to listen to the medical experts, they know best. If they say wear a mask, I'm wearing a mask even though I don't particularly enjoy it.

President Trump on Friday announced new CDC guidance that says, given the easy spread of Covid-19, "CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

“It’s a recommendation, they recommend it,” Trump said last week. “I just don’t want to wear one myself.”

Schumer, frequently at odds with the president, is also insisting that Trump invoke the Defense Production Act, which would allow the federal government to direct private industry to produce needed items, such as face masks, personal protective equipment and respirators.

President Trump has mainly relied on companies that volunteer to change their production lines for the good of the country.

"I called the president two weeks ago and suggested this, and he said we should do it, and he said to someone, he must have been there in the Oval Office, let's get it done," Schumer said. "But then a few hours later he said he wasn't going to do it. I don't know why," Schumer added.

"Well, maybe, you know, there's a view -- let the private sector do what it wants but, you know, we're in war time. In war time, the private sector didn't have freedom. Ford couldn't say, I don't want to make tanks. And it's -- we're in a war time here, and we need this military leader, command and control, with the president's full backing and that will make this horrible, horrible scourge end more quickly with fewer illnesses and fewer deaths."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, tweeted on Friday: "As America experiments with government ownership of business, we should not forget the disaster that socialism was and still is!"

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