Coronavirus: Trump's U-turn on masks

After months of downplaying the threat posed by coronavirus, President Trump has now called on the US population to wear masks. At a press conference, he encouraged people to use a protective face mask in situations where distancing rules cannot be observed. What has prompted this sudden change of heart?

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The Independent (GB) /

Pure campaign tactics

Trump has discovered how to give the election campaign a new twist, The Independent says:

“That moment [when he urged people to wear masks] may allow the president to blame people for not following his advice when the death toll continues to climb. It is still a risky tactic. The point is that Donald Trump is neither mad nor stupid enough to lose this election through arrogance and negligence. It may already be too late for him: many Americans will have given up on him, and some of his staunch supporters will be bemused, though consistency was never his greatest virtue. But the Trump fightback has started, and his opponents shouldn’t underestimate him again. After all, he does like to win.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Appalling lack of leadership

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung says Donald Trump has missed his chance:

“Fear of the virus is once again shaping everyday life in the US. With just over three months to go before the election the president can no longer ignore this. Ten days ago he was seen wearing a mask in public for the first time - in a hospital. Now he has even declared in a tweet that wearing this protection is a patriotic act. The amount of attention the media is devoting to this banality is indicative of the appalling lack of leadership from the White House in this crisis. It's questionable whether Trump will succeed in turning things around in time. On Tuesday in his first coronavirus briefing since April he stuck strictly to his manuscript, but was unable to outline a strategy. Instead, he talked of the people facing even harder times before things get better.”