President Donald Trump was photographed wearing a face mask during a tour of a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Thursday. Trump wore the mask briefly backstage, but was seen without it while touring the factory. He did not want to wear it in front of the cameras, telling reporters he "didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."
The mask was navy blue and featured the presidential seal on it. Trump said the mask was "very nice," but said he was told it was "not necessary" to wear during the tour. Ford chairman Bill Ford said it was "up to" the president to follow the company's guidelines to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. A company spokesman later told CNN Ford "encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived," adding that Trump wore it in a "private viewing" of three Ford GTs.
Trump said he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing him wearing a mask.” But here he is: pic.twitter.com/fbac9BpD5I— Ｍｉｎｅｒｖａ𓂀🦉🌿 (@milesawaycu) May 21, 2020
The facility Trump visited is now producing personal protective equipment, including face shields, ventilators and N95 respirators. Employees have been required to wear face masks in the building, reports WTKR. During the tour Trump also told reporters he would support another round of stimulus checks but offered no details beyond calling the House Democrats' recent plan "DOA." Trump also claimed that all stats have more ventilators "than they need" and the U.S. could start sending extra ventilators to other countries.
Since Trump had not worn a face mask at previous recent public appearances, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent the administration a letter reminding Trump that tours of Michigan manufacturing facilities were suspended during the pandemic. While she was not going to stop him from visiting, Nessel wrote that Trump and White House staff should wear face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer already issued an executive order requiring residents to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces.
Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus. Just days earlier, a member of the military working as a valet at the White House tested positive as well. Trump and Pence are both tested daily. Trump said Thursday morning he tested "very positively" for the virus, although he meant he tested negative.
Following the Ford tour, Trump ordered all federal buildings and national monuments to lower U.S. flags to half-staff for the next three days "in memory of the Americans we have lost to the coronavirus" and on Monday "in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation."