US President Donald Trump appears to have shifted his stance on wearing a face covering in public, saying in an interview that he is “all for masks”.
The American leader even told Fox Business he thinks wearing a mask makes him look like the fictional Lone Ranger.
He said: “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. People have seen me wearing one.”
His comments came a day after Republican lawmakers suggested that he wear a mask in public to set a good example for Americans.
Mr Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask.
In early April, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures were difficult to maintain.
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 added, referring to the 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.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, said last week that he would pursue a federal mask mandate, if elected.
In Wednesday’s interview, Mr Trump suggested a federal mandate was unnecessary and continued to frame mask wearing as a matter of choice.
He also continued to characterise coronavirus as a nuisance that he hopes will just go away.
He said: “I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”