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Trump says he briefly wore a mask at Phoenix factory

Trump says he briefly wore a mask at Phoenix factory
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE said Wednesday that he briefly put on a mask during a visit to a Honeywell factory in Phoenix but that the press didn’t see him.

“I had a mask on for a period of time,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked why he didn’t wear a face covering during Tuesday’s visit to the facility, which produces respirator masks. “I can’t help it if you didn’t see me. I had a mask on, but I didn’t need it.”

Trump said he asked the head of Honeywell, Darius Adamczyk, whether he should wear a mask and was told he didn’t need to wear one. Trump said he put the mask for "not too long" and did so “backstage.”

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Trump and other officials visiting the plant Tuesday were not seen wearing masks, nor were the Honeywell executives who led the president and his aides on the tour of the facility. The president wore safety glasses during the tour.

Meanwhile, signs posted in areas of the facility urged employees to wear masks and observe social distancing of six feet, and some workers producing the masks were seen wearing them. A White House official said that the facility informed officials they were not required to wear masks. Those who interacted with the president during Tuesday's trip were tested for the coronavirus beforehand. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans voluntarily wear a face covering in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from asymptomatic carriers. Trump announced the new policy in early April but said he didn’t plan to wear a face covering in public, noting that it was voluntary.

The president was noncommittal when asked if he would wear a mask earlier Tuesday, saying he would do so if it were a “mask environment.”

Vice President Pence came under scrutiny last week when he elected not to wear a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic despite the clinic’s policy that visitors wear a face covering.

Pence initially defended the decision, saying he didn’t need to wear a mask because he is regularly tested for the virus. He subsequently wore a face covering during a visit to a General Motors facility and said Sunday that he should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic.