Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attended a fundraiser for a Virginia congressional candidate on Monday in which attendees were not wearing masks, BuzzFeed News reports.
Carson attended a fundraiser for Republican Bob Good, who is running to represent Virginia’s 5th Congressional District against Cameron Webb (D). Press was denied access to the event, according to a reporter for the Prince William Times, but several photos of the event were posted on Facebook.
The photos posted show Carson and other attendees congregating at the indoor event without masks, going against the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health. While he is shown eating in some of the photos, he is also seen in others simply talking with other guests without wearing a mask.
The Virginia Department of Health requires people to wear masks “when spending time in indoor public settings.” However, it is unclear whether the event took place at a public or private setting.
Virginia also mandates that dining establishments separate parties six feet apart from each other, but the photos do not show the parties separated.
Carson appears to be contradicting his own public advice on face coverings. During an interview with ABC in June, Carson said of wearing masks: “If we all do it, it will make a dramatic difference.”
Video: AP FACT CHECK: Trump flubs study on masks and coronavirus (Associated Press)
The Trump administration has been downplaying wearing masks since the beginning of the pandemic, and has not let up despite mandates on face coverings across the country.
During an NBC town hall last Thursday, Trump misrepresented a September study from the CDC, falsely claiming that it showed 85 percent of individuals who wear masks contract the virus.
The study found that adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have reported dining at a restaurant before falling ill. The CDC later tried to correct misconceptions about the study, tweeting that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”
The president was asked if he had changed his mind on the effectiveness of masks after contracting coronavirus himself earlier this month, and said he had not.
Good has said he’s not convinced that wearing masks makes a difference.
“I had one doctor tell me that wearing a mask is like putting up a chain link fence to keep out mosquitoes,” he said in an interview with NBC Washington.
Trump endorsed Good in September after he beat out incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) in the state’s June primary election. Webb, a physician, has outraised Good in the predominantly right-leaning district on the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
The Hill has reached out to Carson and Good for comment.