Donald Trump and other top White House officials did not wear face coverings during a visit to an Arizona factory that manufactured N95 masks. As the Independent reported, Trump toured the Honeywell factory and spoke to employees who were manufacturing the critical medical gear. One of the major issues faced during the pandemic has been a lack of masks and other PPE in many areas hard-hit by the coronavirus.
Trump appeared to say earlier in the day that he planned to wear a mask, but wore only goggles during his visit to the factory on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a mask facility, right? If it’s a mask facility, I will. Yeah.”
As he was at Joint Base Andrews preparing to depart, Trump sounded less sure about whether he would wear a mask, noting that he was slated to make a speech.
“You’ll tell me — Should I leave the mask on when I’m speaking? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound right. But if it’s a mask environment, I would certainly wear a mask.”
As the Independent report noted, there were postings inside the factory telling people to wear facial coverings, which some public health experts have said are critical in slowing the spread of the virus.
During his speech, Trump thanked the factory workers and noted the importance of their work in manufacturing the N95 masks. He also referenced his victory in Arizona in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has sparked controversy for going against the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all Americans wear masks when out in public. Shortly after the recommendation was published, Trump said that he did not think he would wear a mask in public, despite the recommendation.
Last week Vice President Mike Pence did not wear a mask during his visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. A video from the visit showed him to be the only person on the trip with an uncovered face. At the time Pence said he went without a mask in order to have better conversations with the clinic’s staff and “to look ’em in the eye.”
Pence would later say that he should have worn a mask, but did not believe he would have posed a risk as he had tested negative for the coronavirus. Like Trump at the facility in Arizona, Pence reportedly went against the hospital’s policy, which requires that all visitors wear face masks in the name of safety.