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Former defense secretary James Mattis has a message for the American people and possibly his old colleagues in the White House.

Mattis issued a public service announcement urging Americans to wear face masks – something Donald Trump has refused to do in public, nor urge others to do, even as his public health experts begged the public to cover their faces and keep social distance to slow the roaring-again spread of coronavirus.

An anti-mask sentiment is infecting some vocal Americans at present, even as latest polls show most people believe states rushing to reopen for business are doing so too quickly and they support efforts to stem the spread.

Johnny Verhovek

James Mattis recorded a PSA to encourage mask wearing in Washington State

June 26, 2020

“I’m here to talk about that nasty virus,” Mattis said on the short video.

“Make sure you are wearing a face mask.” He said that in his career “I have learned that divisiveness will never work in defeating an enemy. We have got to all pull together, we can get through this if we are united,” Mattis said.

Earlier this month, Mattis, Trump’s first defense secretary, who later fell out with his boss, delivered a blistering condemnation of the president’s handling of anti-racism protests across the nation in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

That broadside broke a near silence from the ex-marine general since he resigned in December 2018. He expressed outrage at the militarisation of the administration’s response to mass protests, as force was used to clear peaceful protesters from outside the White House so the president could have a photo op and the president threatened to override state governors and send in the US army to quell protests – which did not ultimately happen.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis said at the time. Here’s the full report from Julian Borger.

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