For many of us, it will be hard to forget the highly controversial actions of former US President Donald Trump amid the COVID-19 pandemic: among said controversial actions were suggesting an "injection" of disinfectant could be an effective treatment, touting the unproven benefits of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, and antipathy towards face masks.
Now, a new account from a former White House aide has revealed what she claims is the real reason behind Trump's well-documented disdain for face coverings, alleging the former reality TV star didn't like that masks messed up his make-up.
In her forthcoming memoir, Enough, former aide Cassidy Hutchinson claimed Trump refused to wear a face covering during a visit to an Arizona mask-manufacturing facility in May 2020 - despite a sign declaring, 'Attention: Face Mask Required in This Area. Thank You!' - because he was worried the straps would rub off his bronzer.
According to Hutchinson, who was an aide to Mark Meadows when he served as the White House chief of staff from 2020 to 2021, Trump had tried on a white mask before the event and asked staffers for their opinions.
As reported by The Guardian, which obtained a copy of the memoir prior to its release, Hutchinson wrote: "I slowly shook my head. The president pulled the mask off and asked why I thought he should not wear it.
"I pointed at the straps of the N95 I was holding. When he looked at the straps of his mask, he saw they were covered in bronzer."
In response, Trump allegedly snapped back: "Why did no one else tell me that? I'm not wearing this thing."
According to reports, Trump told journalists following the event that he had worn a mask at first, but removed it after consulting the company chief executive.
"The press would criticise him for not wearing a mask, not knowing that the depth of his vanity had caused him to reject masks - and then millions of his fans followed suit," Hutchinson continued, as per The Guardian.
In 2021, The Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker said that Trump had told them he often shunned masks due to the "importance in his mind of looking strong, looking healthy, looking impenetrable".
In the early months of the pandemic, Trump notably refused to wear a mask in public or recommend that others do so, in contrast to the messaging from US health experts on the White House coronavirus task force. He donned a face covering publicly for the first time in July 2020 during a meeting with wounded soldiers and frontline healthcare workers.
The month prior, an indoor rally held by Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma had drawn widespread attention for failing to impose coronavirus restrictions, including social distancing and masks, despite the official public health advice.
Enough is set to be released in the US on September 26, but has already made headlines for Hutchinson's claim she was groped by Rudy Giuliani - who served as a member of Trump's personal legal team - backstage at the January 6, 2021 rally that preceded the insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol Building. Giuliani has denied the incident.