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'I had one on before': Trump avoids wearing mask during tour of Ford factory despite company policy

Company chairman Bill Ford said that he had encouraged Trump to wear a mask when he arrived at the factory.

Donald Trump looks through a face shield at the Ford factory in Michigan
Donald Trump looks through a face shield at the Ford factory in Michigan
Image: Daniel Mears/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said he has finally overcome his aversion to wearing face masks to protect him from the coronavirus – but says he still won’t be photographed with one.

Touring a Ford factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, which is instead producing respirators and other personal protective equipment, Trump held up a mask and declared he’d covered his face with it.

“I had one on before. I wore one in this back area but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he told reporters and photographers covering his visit.

Nearly everyone at the Ford factory was wearing a face covering, in line with company policy and government recommendations on curtailing the highly contagious virus.

Company chairman Bill Ford said that he had encouraged Trump to wear a mask when he arrived.

“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,” he said.

Trump, pushing to get Americans to put the pandemic behind them and reopen the faltering economy, has never worn a mask in public.

He has previously has said that he doesn’t consider the look fitting his perception of himself as a world leader.

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On Thursday, he said the mask “was very nice, it looked very nice.”

Scepticism about the need for masks is rife among right-wing Americans who support Trump.

In more extreme circles, demands by local government or private businesses for the public to wear masks has been interpreted as a conspiracy against constitutional freedoms.

- © AFP 2020

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