Petty Trump Says He Won’t Wear a Mask in Public Because He Doesn’t Want to ‘Give the Press the Pleasure of Seeing It’

Donald Trump did not wear a mask during a tour of a Ford factory being used to produce ventilators, despite the company’s policy requiring everyone to wear personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of coronavirus. When asked about it my the press, Trump said he briefly wore a mask off-camera, but wouldn’t let the press see it because he didn’t want to give them the pleasure of seeing it.

Trump walked around the factory floor without a face covering, even as Ford executives who joined him wore masks.

Only GOP Senate candidate John James and Detroit Medical Center CEO Audrey Gregory wore masks during a roundtable with African American leaders prior to the tour. Gregory took off her mask to speak during the event, where individuals were spaced out around a table.

Asked earlier in the day if he would wear a mask, Trump wouldn’t directly answer. But he seemed to indicate going without a mask would signal he was ready for the country to return to normal.

“A lot of people have asked me that question,” he said upon leaving the White House. “I want to get our country back to normal. I want to normalize.”

Thursday’s visit to the factory in Ypsilanti, Mich., came after some uncertainty over whether Ford would require the president to wear a face covering to comply with its policy. The company said in a statement it had shared its safety protocols with the White House ahead of the trip, but later clarified that did not mean it would compel Trump to wear a mask.

The state’s attorney general urged Trump to wear a face covering, saying it’s required of Michiganders by order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Trump has yet to wear a mask on camera, even as his government encourages Americans to do so when social distancing is not possible. He did not wear a mask during previous trips to Arizona and Pennsylvania, and he has previously suggested the mask may lead to poor optics during meetings with other leaders.

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