First Lady Melania Trump encourages Americans to wear face coverings

Just days after President Donald Trump was spotted wearing a face covering for the first time in public, the First Lady encouraged Americans to do the same.

“Even in the summer months, please remember to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The more precaution we take now can mean a healthier & safer country in the Fall,” First Lady Melania Trump said via Twitter.

READ MORE: President Trump wears mask in public for first time during pandemic

The president created waves on social media when he wore a mask at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

The president was a latecomer to wearing a mask during the pandemic, which has raged across the U.S. since March and infected more than 3.2 million and killed at least 134,000. Most prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, endorsed wearing masks as the coronavirus gained ground this summer.

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Trump, however, has declined to wear a mask at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events.

Masks have become a point of contention in the so-called culture war – with some equating mandatory face coverings with government overreach.

READ MORE: Viral video shows woman go on angry tirade over Dallas store’s face mask policy

Viral videos of heated – or even violent – confrontations involving people who refuse to wear masks in retail outlets have become commonplace on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report