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Photos show Gov. Reeves attending Trump speech maskless despite his own post wearing one

Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 8:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More than 1,500 guests watched, laughed and cheered on President Donald Trump from the South Lawn of the White House Thursday night, the vast majority without masks or six feet of separation.

Photos show Gov. Tate Reeves was one of them.

The snapshots, which quickly circulated through social media, serve as a direct contrast to a photo Reeves himself tweeted before Trump addressed the crowd: a selfie with First Lady Elee Reeves that showed both of them wearing masks that support the president.

That visual evidence marks the third time since June that Reeves chose not to wear a mask at a public event, though Thursday night had by far the largest crowd.

Some Mississippians -- still required to wear masks until Monday -- call it a double standard.

“He needs to lead by example. That’s exactly what he needs to do,” Ridgeland resident Kerri Hawkins said. “I feel like if he is going to request everybody to wear a mask for the safety of everybody and try to keep this virus at bay, then he needs to do the same.”

Others, like Jackson resident Greg White, question Reeves’ initial social media selfie, which gave the impression that, even at the White House, the governor will do his part to protect the health care of others.

“I think it’s all for publicity. I think it’s all a false narrative and a false precedent. ’I’m doing what’s right, but when the camera’s not on me, I’m gonna do what everybody else is doing. I’m gonna take my mask off,’” White said.

Reeves faced criticism less than a week ago, when he attended a campaign event for North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest and, photos show, he didn’t wear a mask there.

Reeves addressed that after reporters questioned him about it Tuesday during one of his COVID-19 briefings.

“While I was in North Carolina, I wore a mask 90 percent of the time, 95 percent of the time, much like I do now,” Reeves said, after accusing journalists at the briefing of criticizing him for not wearing a mask at Simpson County Deputy James Blair’s funeral.

Reeves said that, at the Forest rally, he only took his mask off to address the crowd, but photos show otherwise.

When asked, Liz Sharlot with the Mississippi State Department of Health would not speak to Reeves’ attendance at such a large, potentially contagious event, but did say the agency encourages wearing masks, social distancing and not attending large gatherings.

3 On Your Side also reached out to Reeves’ office for comment on this but received no response.

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