- President Donald Trump’s family members did not wear masks during his debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, defying the rules of the event.
- Trump’s children were pictured wearing masks as they approached their seats, but took them off for the debate itself.
- A Bloomberg reporter at the debate said First Lady Melania Trump took off her mask after sitting down. She did not wear one on stage, while Jill Biden did so.
- Photos show members of the audience there to support Biden wore their masks for the event.
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Many supporters of President Donald Trump, including his children, did not wear masks while sat in the audience for his first debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, breaking guidelines for the event.
Four of Trump’s children — Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr. Eric, and Tiffany — did not wear masks while sat in the front row of the venue.
First lady Melania Trump, who was seated with them, was pictured wearing one while sitting with them.
But Tyler Pager, a Bloomberg News political reporter at the event, said that she removed her mask after she sat down.
The Trump family members were videoed and photographed wearing the masks while approaching their seats, and removed them later.
The seats were set far apart as part of social distancing rules.
Nonetheless, guests were told to wear masks throughout the event, held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
NBC News reported that a Cleveland Clinic doctor tried to approach the Trump children over their lack of masks as they entered the venue. NBC said someone shook their head as she got close and she ultimately did not approach them.
Pager, the Bloomberg reporter, said that a doctor at the event told him that unmasked audience members on Trump’s side of the room refused to take a mask when offered one.
—Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) September 30, 2020
NBC News also reported that some members of the Trump administration who were present were not wearing masks.
Peter Eyre, senior advisor for the Commission on Presidential Debates, said before the event: “There are things we’re doing differently this year that we haven’t done before because of COVID-19. That includes a variety of testing, social distancing, mask wearing and obviously reducing the total number of people who will be involved.”
People there to support Biden were wearing masks while seated, The Daily Beast reported.
You can also see how that side of the room was wearing masks in this photo, which also shows Eric Trump not wearing one:
Jill Biden, Joe Biden’s wife, wore her mask to greet her husband on-stage after the debate, while Melania did not:
—The Hill (@thehill) September 30, 2020
Donald Trump Jr. spoke with Fox News Host Sean Hannity after the debate, and sat close by him.
As the interview began, he said he had been tested for the virus and joked that he would face backlash for not wearing a mask unless he clarified that.
Eyre had said before the debate that all audience members would be screened for the virus. There was no suggestion that testing negative was a reason not to wear a mask.
Biden used the debate to attack Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, claiming that “He’s been totally irresponsible the way he’s handled social distancing and discouraging people to wear masks.”
Trump has previously held campaign rallies in indoor settings, where photos show most attendees not social distancing or wearing masks.
More than 200,000 people have now died from the coronavirus in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world.