I’m torn here, as I’m strongly pro-mask.
But also strongly anti-Karen.
How many Democratic politicians in Michigan are fighting with Trump right now? There’s Gretchen Whitmer, who might parlay the boost to her public profile from their feud into a VP nomination. There’s Jocelyn Benson, the secretary of state, who fired back at Trump twice yesterday on Twitter after what he said about mail-in voting and ended up getting an MSNBC segment out of it. Now here’s attorney general Dana Nessel getting in on the action, treating Trump’s refusal to wear a mask during part of his visit today to a Ford plant in Michigan as grounds for … declaring him persona non grata? Bringing charges against Ford, possibly?
Background: Both state law and Ford company policy require the wearing of masks at the plant he visited. Ford execs say they did ask him to wear one, and he complied — initially. But after his private chat with them ended and he had to make a speech and meet the press, he took it off.
Trump also claimed “I had one [a mask] on before,” in an area that was not visible to reporters, but added, “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”…
The Ford company later issued a statement saying: ″Bill Ford encouraged President 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.”
When William Ford introduced Trump for a speech to factory workers after the tour, the company chairman wore a mask as he spoke.
Trump did not.
Did he really wear a mask backstage before he spoke? Check this out — the photo the White House didn’t want us to see.
Trump wore a mask and the media still flipped out. pic.twitter.com/M96QlxLesb
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 21, 2020
I don’t know. Seems a little unmanly to me. A little soft and … cuckish.
But I digress. The AG was so eager to spar with him about this that she published an open letter to him yesterday reminding him that mask-wearing isn’t just good hygiene, it’s the law.
That was clever politics by Nessel in how it left him in a no-win situation. If he wore the mask he’d be bowing to Whitmer’s decree and adopting a symbol that some of his dimmer fans regard as a measure of “social control” or whatever. If he didn’t wear the mask he’d be holding himself out above a law passed to protect the health of Michiganders, one which they themselves have to follow. (Remember that most Americans, including majorities of both parties, are wearing masks now around other people most of the time.) How coordinated all of this is between Whitmer, Benson, Nessel, and Joe Biden, lord only knows. Benson reacted opportunistically yesterday, seizing on an attack launched by Trump himself, but Nessel was clearly teeing up the mask issue. Did she do it at Whitmer’s or Biden’s behest? Was she just trying to get in on the fun, eyeing the governor’s office down the road, maybe?
Whatever the answer, watch her go off below on Trump and Ford on CNN following his visit. The president has no right to infect others, she notes (doesn’t she know he’s on “the hydroxy”?), and insists that a “very serious conversation” will be had with Ford, as if Michigan state cops or Ford security guards were supposed to escort him off the property when he took the mask off. In case her political preferences weren’t clear, she caps her performance with a spiel about how much she dislikes Trump. I smell a Rachel Maddow segment in her near future.
By the way, Whitmer and Nessel won their lawsuit today against Republicans in the Michigan legislature, who had argued that a statewide one-size-fits-all stay-at-home order is illegal because it doesn’t take into account regional differences in terms of the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. If the crisis affects all of the people of the state, said the judge, then the governor can act statewide. Doesn’t matter much at this point, though: Whitmer is already moving to open Michigan up.
ICYMI: Michigan AG @DanaNessel joined @CNN to talk about President Trump's visit to Michigan and the importance of taking safety precautions, like wearing a mask in public spaces. pic.twitter.com/rgimLfYjCY
— Democratic AGs (@DemocraticAGs) May 21, 2020