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A mask factory in Phoenix blasted Guns N’ Roses’ “Live and Let Die” during President Donald Trump's visit Tuesday. The irony was apparently lost on him — as was the need to wear a mask.
Before boarding Air Force One for the Honeywell factory, which received a multimillion-dollar grant from the federal government to mass-produce N95 masks, Trump had said he would wear a mask during his visit if he needed to. “I’ll know when I get there,” he told reporters.
Once at the factory, the president passed a sign on a wall that said masks were required for everyone. (All the workers were complying.) In early April, the CDC also announced that everyone should wear a mask when in public.
Still, Trump apparently didn't think he needed to wear one, and the White House said the factory told him as much.
The president did, however, don a pair of protective goggles.
“Moments ago we saw the brand-new production lines where you’re making high-quality N95 respirators. They are made to perfection,” Trump said during this visit. “There’s no bad masks, like various countries have been sending. Bad masks from other places. Nothing like that at Honeywell.”
About 2,000 people are dying every day from the coronavirus in the U.S., and the projections are much worse: Federal data obtained by the New York Times indicates that the country could be facing 3,000 deaths a day by June 1, with 200,000 new cases daily.
Even as the death toll climbs, Trump has urged governors to move to reopen their states and begin to lift lockdown orders. He originally wanted the country back to full functionality by Easter, a deadline that's long passed.
“Our country is now in the next stage of the battle: a very safe, phased and gradual reopening,” Trump said Tuesday at the factory.
“Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon,” Trump told ABC News on Tuesday.
Trump’s visit to the Honeywell factory — which also featured tunes like “Eye of the Tiger” and “Born in the USA” — was his first trip since February to the battleground state, where polls show the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden. The president has been largely cooped in Washington during the pandemic; he hadn’t traveled on Air Force One since the end of March.
Although Trump didn’t pick up on the necessity of wearing masks from a facility mass-producing them for front-line healthcare workers, he didn’t leave empty-handed: The factory presented him with a mask, mounted on a plaque, to commemorate his visit.
Cover: President Donald Trump participates in a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)