Business_news North Dakota’s GOP governor grew emotional discussing the partisan divide over face masks, asking residents to ‘dial up your empathy’

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  • President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix.


    Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead



    • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, appeared to hold back tears when urging his citizens to show “empathy” and wear a face covering when in public.
    • “If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support,” he said.
    • President Trump has repeatedly been photographed in public settings without a mask and has said he does not want the media to see him wearing one.
    • Visit business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday got emotional when urging his residents to wear a face mask and avoid turning the act into a political battle. 

“I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they’re creating a divide — either it’s ideological or political or something — around mask versus no mask,” Burgum, a Republican, said at a press conference Friday. 

Burgum called the political debate over whether to wear a facial covering in public a “senseless dividing line,” and he said he was asking his citizens “to try to dial up [their] empathy and understanding.” 

Masks are not presently required in North Dakota. There has been heated debate asall 50 states have begun to relax stay-at-home orders overwhether facial coverings — and particularly theirrequirement in some areas— are necessary particularly among people who believe the COVID-19 pandemic is exaggerated or believe mandated masks are a violation of civil liberties, asThe Associated Pressreported.

During a Friday visit to a Ford manufacturing facility in Michigan, the president was photographed without a mask, though he said he wore one during a tour of the facility but took it offbecause he did not want the media to see him wearing it.Trump similarly saidhe wore a mask “backstage” during a tour of a Honeywell factoryon May 6.  Vice President Mike Pence was alsophotographed without a mask when he visited the Mayo Clinic at the end of April.

—The Recount (@therecount)May 22, 2020

The president reportedly fears wearing a face maskwill harm his chances at reelection and make him look ridiculous. 

It hasn’t just been White House leaders stroking divisions surrounding the facial coverings.Missouri Gov. Mike Parson earlier this month defended his decision to go mask-freewhen visiting a thrift store for veterans in Joplin, Missouri. He said he didn’t believe it was the “government’s place” to determine whether residents should wear a face mask in public and it was up to the individual. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said last month that Ohioans would be required to wear face masks in reopened businesses, though — after protest  —he said it was just a recommendation and that his mandate went “too far.”The US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionrecommended in April that facial coverings be worn in public, though US leaders had earlier said masksshould only be worn by medical professionals or people who test positive for COVID-19.

“If someone is wearing a mask they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support. They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s going through cancer treatments,” Burgum said, as his voice began to shake and he took a brief pause. 

“They might have vulnerable adults who currently have COVID and are fighting,” he added. “So again I would love to see our state as part of being ‘North Dakota Smart‘ also be North Dakota kind, North Dakota empathetic.” 


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