President Donald Trump says he wore a mask and goggles out of view of reporters while he was touring a Ford plant in Michigan.
"I did wear, had one on before," said Trump.
"I wore one in this back area, but I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it. But no, where I had it in the back area, I did put a mask on.
The president did not wear a face covering at the Ypsilanti plant despite a warning from the state’s top law enforcement officer that a refusal to do so might lead to a ban on Trump's return.
Trump visited the plant outside Detroit, to tour a Ford Motor Co. factory that had been repurposed to manufacture ventilators, the medical breathing machines governors begged for during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pandemic politics shadowed the trip to Michigan as he highlighted lifesaving medical devices, with the president and officials from the electoral battleground state clashing over federal aid, mail-in ballots and face masks.
His visit to the plant came amid a long-running feud with the state's Democratic governor and a day after the president threatened to withhold federal funds over the state's expanded vote-by-mail effort. And, again, the president did not publicly wear a face covering despite a warning from the state's top law enforcement officer that a refusal to do so might lead to a ban on his return.
For a moment, he also teasingly held up a clear shield in front of his face. A statement from Ford said that Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman, “encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived" and said the president wore it during “a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years" before removing it.
The United Auto Workers union noted in a statement that “some in his entourage'” declined face masks and said “it is vitally important that our members continue to follow the protocols that have been put in place to safeguard them, their families and their communities.”