President Donald Trump did not wear a mask during a visit to a medical supply factory in Pennsylvania on Thursday, marking the second time he wasn’t pictured with a facial covering as he traveled outside of the White House to visit companies helping the battle against the coronavirus.
Trump and officials accompanying him were led around the Owens & Minor Inc. factory, a medical distribution facility that has sent millions of N95 masks and other protective gear to hospitals and health care workers across the country, by factory leaders who wore masks.
Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows did not wear masks while everyone else did. Meadows was seen wearing a mask with the presidential seal on the trip up to Allentown. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was seen wearing a mask during the tour.
President Trump made the trip to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to thank workers
Factory workers listening to the president’s remarks wore masks and sat six feet apart
In his remarks to the workers, Trump praised them for social distancing but admitted the old ways were people were crowded together.
‘All that social distancing. Look at you people all spread out six feet. That’s pretty impressive. But we like it the old way a little bit better don’t we?,’ he said.
The workers wore matching neon green/yellow company T-shirts with ‘Empowering our customers to advance healthcare’ on the backs. All wore face masks.
The president, in a rare moment of personal reflection, mentioned his older brother Fred, who died in 1981 at the age of 42 from complications due to alcoholism.
Trump noted his brother attended the nearby LeHigh University.
‘When ever I think of this area I think of my brother,’ he said.
But he quickly pivoted to some of his more popular political talking points, treating the event more like a campaign rally. The music playing was the same play list that airs at his rallies.
President Trump used the visit to launch a political attack on Joe Biden
President Trump visited Owens and Minor Inc, a medical distribution facility
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner was seen wearing a mask at the factory
Trump complained the Obama administration left him ill equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
‘The cupboards were bare,’ he said.
He also got a hit in at former vice president Joe Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Trump attacked him with his favorite moniker ‘Sleepy Joe Biden.’
He attacked Biden’s role leading the Obama administration’s response to the N1H1 epidemic, better known as the swine flu.
‘Most of the N95 were distributed during the N1H1 — now you know who says that right? Who says N1H1? Sleepy Joe Biden,’ Trump said.
There was scattered laughter among the factory workers.
Trump spoke in a massive warehouse, with wire shelves piled high all the way to the top with medical and cleaning supplies in cardboard boxes of varying sizes.
There was a giant American flag hanging down from the framework at the roof at one end of the building.
Pennsylvania is a state crucial to the president’s re-election. He narrowly won it in 2016.
His trip to the Owens & Minor Inc. factory is his second out of the White House in two weeks. Trump visited the Honeywell factory in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, to visit workers who were making N95 masks for healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.
Trump was not pictured wearing a mask during that visit although he later said he wore one backstage. The president has been reluctant to don a facial covering and did not wear one in Pennsylvania even through there is a statewide order that essential businesses must require all employees and customers wear masks.
Governor Tom Wolf told reporters in the state he would ‘urge anybody coming to Pennsylvania to respect our efforts to stay safe, to keep people safe.’
‘I hope he does everything in his power to keep employees safe, the business executives safe, any customers who might be on site,’ Wolf said. ‘Pennsylvania has always been a state that welcomes visitors, and we’ll continue to do that no matter who it is.’
Trump blasted Wolf during his factory visit.
‘You have to get your governor of Pennsylvania to start opening up a little bit. There are areas of Pennsylvania barely effected and they want to keep them closed. You can’t do that,’ he said.
Trump originally wanted to visit the Braskem factory outside of Philadelphia where dozens of workers lived for 28 days to ensure a quarantine in order to make personal protective gear for those healthcare workers and other professionals battling the coronavirus.
But factory officials were worried a presidential visit could pose a threat to the workers and the gear they are making, The Washington Post reported, and asked Trump to visit after the pandemic has passed.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has called those pushing to restart the economy ‘selfish and unsafe’
People gather outside shops in Beaver, Pa., as Gov. Tom Wolf is struggling to fight against a Republican revolt over his stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns
A person wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus walks by a closed storefront in Lebanon, Pa.
The president has pushed for Pennsylvania to reopen.
‘The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails,’ he wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Republicans in the state are pressuring Wolf, the Democratic governor, to ease up on his stay-at-home orders. The state has nearly 60,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 3,800 deaths.
Wolf, working with medical professionals, has labeled each county in the state as in a red, yellow or green phase – their status determines their level of opening. Some county officials said they would disregard the governor’s instructions and open anyway, leading Wolf to warn them of consequences, including with holding funds. Restaurants that open for dine-in services without permission could lose their liquor license.
‘I won’t sit back and watch residents who live in counties under Stay at Home orders get sick because local leaders cannot see the risks of #COVID19 and push to reopen prematurely,’ Wolf tweeted on Monday. ‘Today I am announcing consequences for counties that do not abide by the law to remain closed.’
He called those pushing to restart the economy ‘selfish and unsafe.’
Credit — dailymail.co.uk