News & Politics

Trump Trolls Mask-Shamers by Privately Touring Ford Plant With Face Covering

President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the coronavirus response, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump seemed to take great pleasure in trolling the media by wearing a face mask while touring the Ford Motor Company plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He wore the mask — navy blue with the presidential seal emblazoned on the front — while out of sight of reporters.

“I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he said. “In the back area I did have a mask on. I had goggles and a mask right back there.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said earlier this week that Trump would be violating the law if he didn’t wear a mask at the factory.

But Nessel, in her letter to Trump, wrote that the mask requirement “is not just the policy of Ford, by virtue of the Governor’s Executive Orders. It is currently the law of this State.”

She also wrote, “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.”

No, the AG did not slap handcuffs on the president and lead him away. But you know she wanted to.

Trump toyed with the media, saying “I honestly — I think I look better in the mask, but I am making a speech, so I won’t have it now.”

Ford executives were nonplussed.

When asked if it was true that it wasn’t required that the president wear a mask, Ford’s CEO, Jim Hackett, told reporters, “It’s up to him.”

In a statement Thursday afternoon, the Ford Motor Company added: “Bill Ford 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.” Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, has been the company’s executive chairman.

Earlier this week, the company announced that Trump and anyone who accompanied him on his visit to the plant, which has been manufacturing ventilators, were recommended to wear a mask.

Not to belabor the point, but it is, in the end, a personal choice. The recommendation to wear a mask applies mostly to those who are already infected. Anyone else can choose to wear a mask if they like, except in states that mandate everyone wear a mask at all times when outside the home.

But that’s not the CDC’s recommendation — a point lost on the geniuses in our press corps who make up their own recommendations as they go along.

No doubt Trump and those closest to him get tested every single day. And he is following the letter of the CDC recommendations. Democrats want Trump to wear a mask in public for the same reason they wanted Calvin Coolidge to get photographed wearing an Indian headdress: they think it makes him look ridiculous.