‘Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask:' Trump tweets photo of himself in face covering

WASHINGTON -- After being photographed wearing a face mask only once before amid the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 140,000 Americans, President Donald Trump finally promoted the preventative measure on Monday.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance," President Trump wrote on Twitter. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

President Trump Trump’s message was accompanied by a black and white image of him wearing a face covering.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence showing the need for widespread mask usage, the president has been slow to adopt the measure himself.

He refused to wear a mask publicly for months, even once suggesting that a news reporter was being “politically correct” for wearing one. President Trump Trump finally donned a facial covering publically on July 11 during a visit to a military hospital.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. per day has risen over the past month. The country saw more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day on multiple occasions last week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

States like Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have recently been forced to shut down bars and businesses as COVID-19 cases surge.

In a FOX News interview that aired Sunday, President Trump Trump said he is “a believer in masks” but stopped short of saying he would mandate them nationwide.

His shift in messaging about masks also comes ahead of the 2020 presidential election and polls that have shown him lagging behind Democrat Joe Biden.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.