Trump to visit Ford plant that requires visitors to wear masks

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE will visit a Ford ventilator assembly plant in Michigan this week with a policy requiring everyone to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), raising questions about whether he will wear a mask for the first time publicly.

"Our policy is that everyone wears PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery said in a statement. "We shared all of Ford's safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip."

McCleery said an initial report from Crain's Detroit Business stating Trump would be required to wear a mask was inaccurate.

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Asked later Tuesday if he would wear a mask, Trump told reporters he hadn't given it much consideration.

"I will certainly look at it," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting, adding that it would depend on the situation. "Am I standing right next to everybody, or am I spread out."

"Where it’s appropriate I would do it, certainly," he added.

Trump is slated to tour Ford's manufacturing facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., and deliver remarks there on Thursday. The factory has been repurposed to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment used by health care workers responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

If the president follows Ford's provisions, it will mark the first time he will have worn a mask in public since the coronavirus pandemic began. He did not wear a mask during previous trips to Arizona and Pennsylvania, and he has previously suggested the mask would be a hindrance during meetings with other leaders.

During the trip to Arizona, Trump initially said he would wear a face covering since he was visiting a mask factory. But a White House official later said they were informed it was not necessary.

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In Pennsylvania, Trump did not wear a mask even though most of the administration officials who joined him on the trip did.

The White House has in the past defended Trump's decision not to wear a face covering by noting that he is tested daily for the coronavirus and has tested negative. Officials argue that face coverings are intended to prevent infected individuals from spreading the virus, so a mask would be immaterial for someone who is not a carrier.

West Wing staffers are required as of last week to wear face coverings when they are not at their desks or are unable to practice social distancing. The increased safety protocols came after two staffers tested positive for the virus. 

Updated at 4:07 p.m.