First lady Melania Trump took off her mask on Tuesday to read to children at the Children’s National Hospital, where hospital policy requires visitors to wear a face covering.
Melania, who has visited children at the hospital each year during her time as first lady, continued the tradition despite the coronavirus pandemic and record cases in Washington, DC.
She entered the hospital wearing a mask but was seen taking it off after sitting in front of the Christmas tree where “she practiced social distancing,” according to the news outlet.
The hospital’s policy states, “Everyone must wear a mask at all times while in any Children’s National facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
First Lady Melania Trump removes mask to read to children at hospital, breaking the hospital's safety guidelines. pic.twitter.com/Cd4E48P30L
— The Hill (@thehill) December 15, 2020
A hospital spokesperson noted to CNN, “Under D.C. health regulations, wearing a mask is not required when a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker.”
She added, “[Trump] was more than 12 feet away from others in our large atrium. All other people in that space were wearing masks.”
The first lady’s office maintained in a statement Tuesday evening that the visit “followed the hospital’s mask protocols for public speakers, based on the District of Columbia health guidance.”
“Throughout the holiday program, the First Lady was more than twelve feet away from others in the four-story atrium,” it said, adding the visit was “broadcast to 325 inpatient hospital rooms.”
Upon arriving at the hospital Trump said, “It is wonderful to be here. This is one of my favorite events during the holiday time and I’m very excited and looking forward to reading a book.”
“I’m thinking of you all. Stay strong and well and Merry Christmas and happy holidays,” she said.
Trump kept her mask off as she exited to “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, CNN reports.