U.S President Donald Trump traveled to Michigan Thursday to visit a Ford plant converted to making ventilators, and thanked employees for their efforts to help save Americans’ lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With your help, not a single American has been denied a ventilator, not a single one,” Trump said during the campaign-style appearance at the Rawsonville plant in 2020 battleground Michigan.
The president was seen first time wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said he wore a protective face mask — which photos of the event showed had a presidential seal — while touring the plant but took it off before he spoke to workers.
“I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump said, later donning one of the protective face shields also used at the plant.
Asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask in front of the press and representatives from Ford before making remarks at the plant, Trump said, “in this area … it’s not necessary here, everybody’s been tested and I’ve been tested.”
Asked about the Ford executives wearing masks, which the company requires workers to wear, he said it’s “their choice.”
The president also mourned victims of the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 85,000 American lives, and praised health care workers.
“As one people, we hold in our hearts the precious memory of every person that we have lost. We have lost too many, one is too many. As one grateful nation, we proclaim god bless our health care workers. They are like warriors,” he said.
The Ford company said in a statement that Chairman Bill Ford had “encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived. He wore a mask during a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years. The President later removed the mask for the remainder of the visit.”
Trump has urged states to loosen coronavirus-related restrictions so the battered US economy can recover even as public health experts warn that premature relaxation of restrictions could lead to a second wave of deadly infections.
Trump and his allies have defended his refusal to wear a mask, arguing that because the president and his inner circle are routinely tested for the coronavirus, he does not need to wear a mask.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals wear snug-fitting cloth masks in public settings to help prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus from the mask-wearing individual to others.