Trump ignores state law by refusing to wear mask during Michigan trip


Michigan's attorney general wrote a letter to Donald Trump informing him about state policy, which Trump ignored.

On Thursday, Donald Trump once again refused to wear a face mask in public, this time while touring a Ford plant in Michigan that was repurposed to build ventilators.

Before the trip, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned Trump that wearing a face mask at the plant was required by state law.

An executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer "requires that any individual able to medically tolerate a facial covering wear one when in any enclosed public space," Nessel wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday. Wearing a mask is "currently the law of this State," Nessl added.

Nessel said that her office would not prevent Trump from visiting the plant but asked that he "respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford — and across the state — by wearing a facial covering."

She added that anyone "who has potentially been recently exposed, including the President of the United States, has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility, to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus."

Yet Trump ignored the warning and the state law, touring the plant without a mask, despite the fact that at least two White House aides tested positive for coronavirus less than two weeks ago.

In remarks, Trump claimed to wear a mask in the back of the factory.

"I had one on before," a mask-less Trump claimed to reporters, pointing to the back area of the factory. "But I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," he said. Trump claimed that he wore both goggles and a mask.

Ford initially instructed the White House that face masks "are required to be worn by everyone, in all facilities, at all times," according to a document obtained by CNN. The company later backed down and released a statement on Tuesday saying, "The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination" about face masks.

Michigan has been one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, the state had nearly 53,000 confirmed cases, and at least 5,060 people had died.

Trump has steadfastly refused to wear a mask in public despite state policies and recommendations by health experts.

In early May, Trump refused to wear a mask at a Honeywell facility in Arizona that produced face masks. After that event, Trump also claimed to have worn a mask before coming in front of the cameras.

Vice President Mike Pence was strongly criticized for refusing to wear a mask when he visited the Mayo Clinic in late April, claiming he wanted to "speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you."

Face masks do not cover the eyes.

Health care experts, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend wearing a face mask to slow the spread of the virus.

One recent study showed that wearing masks can reduce the spread of the new coronavirus by as much as 75%.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.