US President Joe Biden appeared to be the only world leader to wear a mask during a virtual climate summit hosted by the White House.
Leaders who could be seen without a mask in the call included Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.
Mr. Biden kicked off the two-day summit on Thursday by unveiling a new commitment to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates thanked Biden at the summit “for re-establishing America’s leading role in climate change.”
“This is a promising time. Climate activists and especially young people are bringing surprising energy and attention to this problem. They are asking for action and they should be, ”Gates said.
Mr. Biden pushed Americans to wear masks to stem the spread of Covid-19, instituting a 100-day mask challenge when he took office. He dutifully donned masks when appearing in public and signed an executive order to force him to wear the mask on federal properties on his first day in the White House.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, more than 100 countries had issued nationwide mask warrants by August 2020. The US was not among those countries as a CNN fact check in November 2020 stated, “There appears to be no legal authority which would allow a US president to issue a nationwide masking mandate. “
The first countries to issue national mask warrants as the pandemic was accelerating last spring were Vietnam and the Czech Republic.
Former CDC director Robert Redfield called the masks “one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus.” But President Dr Redfield served below, Donald Trump, repeatedly ridiculed the masks and refused to wear one for a long time. Mr. Trump first wore a mask in July 2020.