Michigan’s attorney general said President Donald Trump will be told not to come back if he refuses to wear a face mask when he tours a Ford Motor plant outside of Detroit Thursday afternoon.
‘Honestly, if he fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facility inside our state,’ Dana Nessel, a Democrat, told CNN.
Michigan requires people to wear some type of face covering in public enclosed spaces thanks to an executive order signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer at the end of April. There are no fines for violating the order but stores can refuse to serve those without the coverings.
Trump will visit a Ford Motor Company plant in Ypsilanti, which has been recast to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment to combat the coronavirus.
It’s unclear if President Trump will wear a face mask when he tours the Rawsonville Components Plant. He has not been seen wearing one when he visited factories in Arizona and Pennsylvania over the past two weeks but he claimed he donned one for a few minutes backstage while at the Honeywell plant in Phoenix on May 5.
Ford has a policy that all visitors must wear personal protective equipment and originally indicated Trump would wear one. But the company later backed down and said the White House has its own protective procedures and will make its own determinations about whether masks will be worn.
Nessel threatened to take legal action against Ford Motors if the president doesn’t wear a face covering.
‘I know that Ford has asked him to do the same thing, but if we know that he’s coming to our state, and we know he’s not going to follow the law, I think we’re going to have to take action against any company or any facility that allows him inside those facilities and puts our workers at risk. We simply can’t afford it here in our state,’ she said.
‘We are just asking that President Trump comply with the law in our state, just as we would make the same request of anyone else in those plants,’ she added, pointing out that an agreement that allowed auto workers to return to the plant included a provision that everyone will wear a mask and observe social distancing policies.
She implored President Trump to think about the cost and work that would go into disinfecting the Rawsonville Components Plant after his visit.
‘We’re asking if President Trump doesn’t care about his own health, doesn’t care about the health and the safety of people who work in those facilities, at least care about the economic situation of, you know, costing these facilities so much money by having to close down and disinfect the plant after he leaves,’ she said.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ford said the company shared its safety policy, which includes a requirement to wear masks, with the White House.
But the company backed down from saying Trump would be required to don a facial covering.
‘The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination’ about whether Trump and White House officials will wear masks during the visit,’ a spokesperson said.
Trump said Tuesday he’d consider wearing a mask if the situation warranted it.
‘I don’t know, I haven’t even thought of it,’ Trump said. ‘It depends, in certain areas I would, in certain areas I don’t, but, I will certainly look at it. It depends on what situation. Am I standing right next to everybody, or am I spread out. Is something a hospital, is it a ward, what is it exactly? I’m going to a plant.’
‘So we’ll see,’ Trump said. ‘Where it’s appropriate, I would do it, certainly.’
Michigan has had more than 52,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 5,000 deaths.
Nessel wrote an open letter to Trump on Wednesday, asking him to wear a face mask during his visit, arguing he has a ‘social and moral’ responsibility to do so.
Whitmer has instigated tough measures to try and combat the pandemic. In addition to the face covering policy, she instituted a stay-at-home requirement that remains in effect. Restrictions will start to ease in parts of the state on Friday.
Protesters, however, swarmed the state Capitol in Lansing to object to the shut down.
President Trump has cheered them on.
On Wednesday, the president argued the stay-at-home order should be lifted so residences can help out with flooding in the northern part of the state that has led to two burst dams and 10,000 people being evacuated.
‘We have sent our best Military & @FEMA Teams, already there. Governor must now ‘set you free’ to help. Will be with you soon!,’ he tweeted.
President Trump on Wednesday threatened to with hold unspecified federal funds from Michigan after the secretary of state sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.
The state is crucial to the president’s re-election effort. He won it by less than one point in the 2016 election.
Trump declined to specify on Wednesday what laws he said Michigan was breaking when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mailed out the applications. Republicans have argued without proof that mail-in ballots increase voter fraud. Democrats claim Republicans are against it because it benefits voting blocs that tend to vote Democratic.
‘Mail-in ballots are a very dangerous thing they’re they’re subject of massive fraud,’ Trump said at an event at the White House with the governors of Kansas and Arkansas.
Trump didn’t get specific on what kind of federal funds might be with held from the state. ‘You’ll be finding out that we finding out very soon if it’s necessary,’ he said. ‘I don’t think it’s going to be necessary.’
Whitmer called the threat ‘scary’ and ‘ridiculous’ given the heavy flooding in Midlands county.
‘We’ve got to evacuate tens of thousands of people who are worried and scared. On top of this global pandemic. And to have this kind of distraction is just ridiculous to be honest. It’s – threatening to take money away from a state that is hurting as bad as we are right now is just scary. And I think something that is unacceptable,’ Whitmer told CBS’ ‘This Morning’ on Thursday ahead of the president’s visit.
So far the president hasn’t been photographed wearing a face mask.
He told reporters that he put one on ‘backstage’ when visiting a Honeywell plant on May 5 in Arizona that was producing N95 masks to help deal with a nationwide PPE shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump did not wear a mask when cameras were focused on him.
He did wear safety goggles.
He also didn’t wear a mask when touring a Allentown, Pennsylvania factory last week that was a distribution center for medical supplies and protective gear.