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White House press secretary won't wear a mask at rally, despite CDC guidelines

Arena asks Trump campaign for safety plan
Arena asks Trump campaign for safety plan 06:55

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday she won't be wearing a mask at the president's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Saturday, calling it a "personal choice."

She said not wearing a mask still complies with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, telling reporters Friday that masks are recommended but not required. 

That recommendation from the CDC reads, "Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public." And the CDC also "recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain." 

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CBS News in an interview Friday that the best way to avoid spreading the virus "is to avoid crowds." But for those who will not be heeding that piece of advice, he counseled, "wear a mask at all times." 

Meanwhile, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said he will "probably" be wearing a mask at the rally, where masks will be available but not required. Mr. Trump has expressed his personal distaste for masks, and has generally declined to wear one, despite his own CDC guidance recommending the wearing of masks in public. 

"It's a personal choice. I won't be wearing a mask. I can't speak for my colleagues," McEnany said during a White House briefing on Friday.

Asked why not, McEnany emphasized it's a "personal decision," even though an indoor rally without much social distancing would qualify as a highest-risk gathering, according to the CDC. 

"It's a personal decision. I am tested regularly. I feel that it is safe for me not to be wearing a mask. I'm in compliance with CDC guidelines, which are recommended but not required," McEnany said. 

The president's rally in Oklahoma will be the first since the pandemic changed the nation. The Trump campaign and allies have argued that if protesters are allowed to roam the streets, the president should be able to hold a rally.

But the rate of daily coronavirus cases has been on the rise in Oklahoma. Attendees had to agree when they signed up for the rally that they bear responsibility if they fall ill from COVID-19 as a result of attending the event. In other words, they have to agree not to sue the campaign or any other entity.

The rally begins at 8 p.m. ET Saturday. 

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