Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) penned an open letter on Wednesday imploring President Donald Trump to wear a protective face mask during his scheduled tour of the Ford Motor Company plant on Thursday. Nessel conceded that the state wouldn’t force Trump’s hand in the matter, but noted that in addition to being a legal requirement, the president’s cooperation with the mask mandate would be a sign of respect for the men and women with whom he’d be visiting.
“We know that Ford Motor Company takes the legal requirements of the Governor’s Executive Orders very seriously. In fact, a spokesperson for Ford has confirmed that the company shared its safety protocols with the White House in advance of your trip,” Nessel wrote. “While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford’s plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford – and across this State – by wearing a facial covering. It is not just the policy of Ford, by virtue of the Governor’s Executive Orders. It is currently the law of this State.”
Under both Ford company policy and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, face masks are required to be worn by persons in enclosed public spaces. The president has not exactly gotten on board with the mask recommendations made by medical officials in his own administration. Masks have been recommended in order to prevent the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
When asked if he would follow the state’s directive on Tuesday, the president equivocated.
“I haven’t even thought of it,” he responded when asked how he’d go about his Ford visit. “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? And also you look, is something a hospital? Is it a ward? What is it exactly? I’m going to a plant. So we’ll see. Where it’s appropriate I would do it certainly.”
Clearly not wanting to provoke the president, Nessel closed the letter with an appeal to the president’s “social and moral responsibility.”
“Anyone who has potentially been recently exposed, including the President of the United States, has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility, to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus,” Nessel concluded.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Trump falsely accused Michigan of “illegally” sending all eligible voters absentee ballots and threatened to withhold federal funds from the state. The president has also called for the liberation certain states governed by Democrats, Michigan included.
See below for Nessel’s full letter.
[Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images.]
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