President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE was photographed at a Ford factory in Michigan wearing a face mask while taking a tour of the facility on Thursday.
The photograph, which was published by the Detroit Free Press, shows the president wearing a face mask while interacting with Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr.
President Trump wears a mask during his tour of the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where ventilators, masks and other medical supplies are being manufactured. https://t.co/UCqBVUEuBZ— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 22, 2020
The photo appears to be the first picture to emerge of the president wearing a face covering during his tour of the facility, which is producing ventilators and other critical medical equipment for front-line health care workers combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the tour, the president spoke to reporters without wearing a face mask. Asked why he wasn’t wearing a face covering publicly, he said that he briefly wore a mask in the “back area” but that he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
Trump said company officials told him that a mask was not necessary during the tour. The president also did not wear a face covering during an earlier roundtable with African American leaders at the Ypsilanti, Mich., plant.
Ford said in a statement shortly following the visit that the company chairman encouraged Trump to wear a mask when he arrived at the facility.
"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,” the company said.
Ford’s policy requires everyone to wear personal protective equipment in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump, who is tested regularly for COVID-19, has declined to wear a face mask in public settings despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraging the use of face coverings in order to prevent the asymptomatic spread of the disease. He has indicated he doesn’t believe wearing a mask is necessary and suggested it could lead to poor optics in meetings with other leaders.
The White House has argued that because Trump is tested regularly and has not reported a positive test, there is no need for him to wear a mask.