Donald Trump on Thursday violated the guidelines his own administration put forward about avoiding close contact with others and eschewing in-person social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic — to hold a photo-op honoring truck drivers.
The event was intended to celebrate "America's truckers who are answering the call to action to transport supplies across the country," according to a description from the White House.
Trump violated the rules to stand six feet apart from others, instead choosing to get close to truck drivers from companies such as UPS, FedEX, and DHL. He handed the drivers — as well as Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Chris Spear, CEO of American Trucking Associations — golden keys for their service, sidling up close to pose for photos.
"I almost shook your hand," Trump joked to Spear as they huddled together, a nod to the recommendation that people avoid handshaking in order to stop the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Trump relishes photo-ops, and has held many throughout his tenure.
He's congratulated a veteran who lost a leg during a trip to the National Military Medical Center. He staged a photo-op with several intelligence officials, claiming they had all agreed with him in their meeting after they had publicly testified to the contrary. He lied about a funding plan during a photo-op with officials from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He even held a photo-op with a military service dog.
When the Philadelphia Eagles refused to travel to the White House for photo-ops after their Super Bowl victory in 2018, the White House attacked the team and revoked the invitation.
Last year, he took a trip to the southern border to promote his wall, admitting that it was "not going to change a damn thing," but his communications team wanted it for what was essentially a taxpayer-funded photo-op.
Now, he's holding photo-ops during a global health pandemic, against recommendations from experts.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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