President Donald Trump did not wear a face mask during his Tuesday visit to the Honeywell factory in Phoenix, Arizona, which manufactures N95 masks for the federal government. Accompanied by a number of others, many of whom did not wear masks themselves, the trip marked the president’s first time leaving the White House in more than a month.
CNBC reports that the president forewent a face covering during the entirety of his trip. As he stepped out of Air Force One after it landed in Phoenix in the afternoon, he was not wearing a mask. The president was also not wearing a mask at a roundtable discussion about COVID-19 assistance to Native Americans, which took place just before his visit to the factory.
Once at the factory, Trump met with Honeywell executives Darius Adamczyk and Tony Stallings, who led the president on a tour through the facility. Although he did not wear a mask, he was seen protecting his eyes with goggles. According to CNBC, a White House official said that Honeywell had told the White House that Trump and other visitors did not need to wear masks, despite a report from Reuters that a sign at the facility read, "Attention: Face Mask Required in this Area. Thank You," and workers were seen sporting masks.
Just prior to his visit, Trump had told reporters that he was considering wearing a mask, though he wasn’t yet sure if he would don the personal protective equipment. Non-surgical masks and cloth face coverings are being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with some cities currently mandating that residents wear them when out in public.
"I'm going to have to look at the climate. I'd have no problem wearing a mask. I don't know," Trump said, according to NPR. "I'm supposed to make a speech. I just don't know: Should I speak in a mask? You're going to have to tell me if that's politically correct. I don't know. If it is, I'll speak in a mask."
The president's visit, and the backlash it sparked, came exactly a week after Vice President Mike Pence found himself treading controversy following his maskless visit to the Mayo Clinic. Visiting with healthcare workers as well as patients battling COVID-19, Pence failed to wear a face mask or covering despite that he was the only one in the visiting group without one and despite the clinic's new policy requiring them. Pence later admitted that he "should have worn a mask."