President Donald Trump was following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when he attended an event at the Atlanta airport without wearing a mask, the White House said in his defense after the city's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms accused him of breaking the law by not wearing one.
"The president takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. "When preparing for and carrying out any travel, White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office, to ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible."
Bottoms told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that she found it encouraging that others on the airport tarmac were wearing masks, but Trump's move violated her executive order requiring masks to be worn.
"I signed an executive order that requires masks in the city of Atlanta and specifically on city-owned property, which Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is. So by not having on the mask, President Trump did violate the law in the city of Atlanta," she said.
She added that she's not surprised that Trump "disregarded our rules and regulations in this city," but it was encouraging that others "did have some regard" for Atlanta's efforts to slow the widening spread of COVID-19.
Bottoms signed her order on July 8, but Wednesday night, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an order to prohibit cities and counties from mandating that masks be worn, voiding orders in Atlanta and at least 15 other local governments.
Kemp's order, though, says residents and visitors are "strongly encouraged" to wear masks in public, even if they are not mandated to do so.
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