Trump doesn't wear a mask while greeting Republicans at Miami airport

David Smiley and Alex Daugherty, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

MIAMI -- President Donald Trump stepped off Air Force One Friday in Miami, into one of the worst coronavirus hot spots in the country.

He wasn't wearing a mask, though Miami-Dade County has a mask-wearing mandate in public. A spokesman for Miami International Airport had said earlier in the week that he wouldn't need to, since he would be going from the airport runway to his limo before heading to U.S. Southern Command.

After his arrival at 12:15 p.m., Trump walked down the plane's stairs and spoke briefly with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican running for Congress with Trump's endorsement, who imposed the mask-wearing rule as COVID-19 cases have soared.

He didn't head straight to the limo.

Trump also spoke with County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz and County Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo, who is running for Gimenez's mayoral seat. Gimenez, Diaz and Bovo were initially wearing masks and did not shake hands with the president, though Bovo later took off his mask to speak with Trump shortly before the president departed.

In a brief interview off the runway, Diaz said, "we all got tested before we got close to the president. It came out negative." Diaz said they wore masks "out of respect" for the president.


Gimenez waved off a Miami Herald reporter who tried to interview him and left in his SUV.

Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who traveled with the president on Air Force One, did not wear a mask when he exited the plane shortly after the president. Diaz-Balart was the first member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19 in March.

Florida's Department of Health on Friday confirmed 11,433 new cases of COVID-19, making it the second highest single-day total recorded since the pandemic began in March. Miami-Dade County reported 2,380 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 new deaths. The county now has had 58,341 confirmed cases and 1,118 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, the highest in the state.

In interviews last week before Trump's visit was announced, Gimenez said he expected the president to wear a mask.


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