Trump landed in a cloud of political controversies when he came to Ypsilanti to speak at a Ford plant making ventilators.
YPSILANTI, MI — Just a day after threatening to cut funding to Michigan during the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump arrived in the Ypsilanti Thursday afternoon to tour Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville manufacturing plant.
Because Michigan announced plans to mail every registered voter an application for an absentee ballot, Trump threatened to withhold funding from the state, The ‘Gander reported. It was unclear what funding he meant and while in Ypsilanti, Trump specifically rejected a request for clarity on the issue.
Despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s guidelines, Ford’s policy, and warnings from Attorney General Dana Nessel, Trump did not wear a mask for most of his Michigan visit.
Thursday morning, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel said that although there would be no charges against Trump for breaking those orders, not wearing a mask would risk him being barred from future visits to the state, ABC reports.
In response to a question about why he refused to wear it, Trump said he didn’t want to “give the press the pleasure” of seeing him wearing one, but that he wore it when not in view of the public. Ford said it was ultimately his choice whether to wear one.
The recent rising tensions between Trump and Gov. Whitmer have sparked multiple protests in Michigan, where Trump supporters have called on the state to follow Trump’s direction and re-engage the economy as quickly as possible, nixing guidelines that have demonstrably flattened the curve in Michigan. The protests have not risked spreading the coronavirus across state lines, as The ‘Gander has noted, and have featured armed protesters storming the Capitol Building and toting racist props.
What the President Said
Trump started his factory tour with a session with local African American leaders. MSNBC reported just this week that only 3% of Black voters supported Trump’s re-election campaign. That’s compared to 81% supporting presumed Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.
At the session, Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine again, a drug which has no scientific background to cure or prevent the coronavirus. COURIER reports that cronyism at the Food and Drug Administration has resulted in rules being bypassed to fund the drug in the first place. COURIER also reports that Trump has personal financial interest tied to the controversial drug.
The drug is noted to have serious side effects and increased risk of death. Patients who need it to treat lupus worry that the federal government’s premature promoting of the drug will make it harder for them to treat their own disease.
After that session, Trump gave a campaign-like speech from Rawsonville, as he’s done at three other manufacturing plants that have changed focus to work on equipment for pandemic response.
Trump told reporters that if there was a second wave of the virus, he would not support another wave of quarantines in response.
Trump addressed the recent flooding in Midland, Michigan, which he said he plans to visit. This comes one day after he threatened to cut funding from Michigan over voters getting applications for absentee ballots. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer received funding Friday morning from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she announced.
What He Didn’t Say
While Trump acknowledged that Detroit has been hard-hit by the crisis, he said little during his visit. As The ‘Gander reports, one of every five Michiganders diagnosed with the coronavirus is a Detroiter, and 12% of Detroiters confirmed to have the disease have died.
Trump also didn’t mention the plight or heroism of essential workers in Michigan. Gov. Whitmer talked with former Vice President Joe Biden in a virtual roundtable last week about Michigan’s essential workers as a backbone of the economy and her efforts to get them a college education.
Trump didn’t address the most recent violent or defiant protests in Lansing. He instead said that people who are pressuring states to reopen as soon as possible shouldn’t be “vilified.” This is in line with his previous statements about the protesters, calling them “good people” ahead of his Michigan stop.
He did not bring attention to situations like protesters threatening the Capitol Building commission after considering banning guns in the Capitol because armed protesters stormed the building April 30.
And when asked if he was concerned about his threats to Michigan’s funding while the state deals with a natural disaster, Trump pivoted to talk about an accolade that doesn’t exist.
“No, I’m not. I’m — no, I’m not concerned at all,” he said. “We’re going to help Michigan. Michigan is a great state. I’ve gotten tremendous business to go to Michigan. Michigan is one of the reasons I ran. I was honored in Michigan long before I thought about — I was honored as the Man of the Year in Michigan at a big event.”