The White House said Wednesday evening that President Donald Trump followed guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during his trip to Atlanta after the city’s mayor accused him of breaking the law by not wearing a mask at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Trump was spotted not wearing a mask during his visit to Atlanta on Wednesday, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that Trump broke the law. Hartsfield-Jackson airport is owned and operated by the city of Atlanta and thus included in her executive order requiring masks, Bottoms said.
When asked for a response, the White House did not directly address Bottoms’ accusation and said Trump was instead following CDC guidance.
“The President takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to CNN.
“When preparing for and carrying out any travel, White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office, to ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible.”
An administration official added that the President and all those in close proximity to him are tested and he also never left the airport.
Trump wore a mask during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday, the first time he had been seen wearing a mask in public after weeks of his staff requesting he do so.
Bottoms, one of the top prospects to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, said during the interview with Blitzer that she wasn’t shocked by Trump’s decision not to wear a mask.
“So by not having on a mask, President Trump did violate law in the city of Atlanta, but I am somehow not surprised that he disregarded our rules and regulations in the city,” she said.
“But it was encouraging to see that others did have some regard for what we’re doing and tried to accomplish in Atlanta and that’s to slow the spread of Covid-19.”
Her comments, however, come amid a dispute with Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp about whether her mandatory mask ordinance is enforceable in the city as it goes beyond the measures he’s put in place.
Bottoms holds that since the airport is owned and operated by the city, it’s within her jurisdiction to enforce, and not wearing a mask can be punishable by a citation, fine and even up to six months in jail.
An executive order Kemp signed Wednesday included language that local governments are prohibited from implementing rules requiring people to wear masks and face coverings in public places.
Asked if she was going to give Trump a citation, Bottoms said, “Just a citation that sends him back to Washington, DC.”