President Trump and Joe Biden are going at each other over mask use. Biden wore one in his first public appearance since March, and on Monday night, Trump retweeted a tweet from a Fox News analyst appearing to mock Biden's mask-donning. On Tuesday, Biden gave his first in-person interview since the coronavirus pandemic forced him to halt traditional campaigning, and he had harsh words for Trump on the mask issue, Politico reports. “He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way," Biden told CNN of the president, who has famously eschewed masks. "I mean every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd, and especially when you know you're going to be in a position where you're going to inadvertently get closer than 12 feet to somebody." The AP notes the issue has become "politically charged" and that, per a poll, conservatives are less likely to wear masks.
Biden said Trump is "stoking deaths" with his insistence on ignoring health advice, and hypothesized that the president was giving in to "macho stuff" like the argument that wearing a mask is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, Biden said, it's a sign of leadership. "Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine," he said. For his part, Trump insisted Tuesday he wasn't trying to mock Biden with his Monday retweet. "Biden can wear a mask," he told reporters, though he noted that he was curious why the presidential candidate would do so while outdoors with only his wife in close contact. "I wasn't criticizing him. Why would I ever do a thing like that?" The White House press secretary also said Tuesday that Trump's retweet wasn't "shaming anyone," but that Biden's mask-wearing in that particular situation was "peculiar." (Read more Joe Biden stories.)