May 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he declined to wear a mask to avoid giving the "press the pleasure"

President Trump on Thursday said he removed his face mask during a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan because he "didn’t want to give the press the pleasure” of seeing him wearing the protective covering.

The state of play: Trump said he kept a mask on during a private portion of the tour, but took it off once in-view of the press. An open letter from Michigan’s attorney general warned that it was “the law of this state" to wear a mask.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people wear facial coverings when in public to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Michigan currently has one of the highest case counts in the U.S., with 53,512 positive tests and 5,129 deaths.

What he's saying: The president noted that he is regularly tested for the virus, as recently as Thursday morning.

  • "I had [a mask] on in an area where they preferred it," Trump said.
  • When asked about the example his choice sets for Americans, Trump responded: "I think it sets an example. I think it sets an example both ways."
  • During Thursday's visit, Trump pushed to ease social-distancing restrictions. He blamed Democrats for stalling the economy, saying they were “hurting their states."

Between the lines: White House rules now require staff to wear masks while in the West Wing, though Trump has largely refused to wear one publicly amid the pandemic.

  • Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Trump's valet.

Vice President Mike Pence has also scarcely worn a mask in public. He wore one while touring a General Motors plant in Indiana after receiving backlash following a visit to the Mayo Clinic.

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Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.