"I had one on before... but I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," Trump is quoted as saying in response to criticism. Trump also said that it was "not necessary" for him to be wearing a mask, because he was tested for the novel coronavirus that morning.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 21, 2020
The Ford facility is producing ventilators and personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is not the first time that Trump has drawn flak for not wearing a mask in a public setting. In early May, Trump was criticized for failing to wear a mask while touring a Honeywell facility in Phoenix, Arizona, which manufactures N95 respirators for health care workers.
Trump sported goggles during the tour but left his face bare, despite signs around the facility clearly stating that masks are required, according to reporters who were present. However, an administration official said to reporters that Honeywell had told officials they weren’t required to wear masks while touring the facility.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 5, 2020
Following Trump's visit to the factory, the Ford Motor Company issued a statement, revealing that Bill Ford, the executive chairman of the company, had asked Trump to wear a mask, but that the president had later removed it.
"[Trump] wore the mask during a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years," reads the release.
Trump previously said during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing that he couldn’t see himself wearing a mask while meeting with “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens.”
US Vice President Mike Pence also received widespread criticism after not wearing a mask during his April 28 visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to learn more about COVID-19 testing as part of his White House Coronavirus Task Force duties.
Photos and videos of Pence visiting the clinic without a mask were widely circulated on Twitter, showing other people, including US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and US Representative Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) all wearing masks. Pence later admitted that he should have worn a mask and did wear one during a later trip to a ventilator plant.