It’s not optional

Michigan’s Attorney General has asked Trump to follow the rules.

Ahead of President Trump’s planned trip Thursday to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan, the state’s attorney general implored him to wear a face mask on his tour, citing a “legal responsibility” — and said he would be asked not to return if he does not do so.

In an open letter addressed to Trump, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) asked the president, who has consistently appeared barefaced in public and at the White House, to adhere to executive orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Ford’s policy mandating masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Trump is scheduled to visit a factory southwest of Detroit that has been repurposed to manufacture ventilators.

The workers in the factory don’t necessarily want to get the virus from Trump. A normal person wouldn’t want to risk infecting other people.

“While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford’s plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford — and across this State — by wearing a facial covering,” Nessel wrote. “It is not just the policy of Ford, by virtue of the Governor’s Executive Orders. It is currently the law of this State.”

Asked during an appearance Thursday morning on CNN what she would do if Trump doesn’t comply, Nessel voiced some skepticism about whether he would.

“If we’ve learned nothing over the last several years of President Trump in the White House, it’s that he doesn’t have the same level of legal accountability as everybody else,” Nessel said. “Honestly, if he fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facilities inside our state.”

That is to say, if we’ve learned anything about Trump it’s that he considers himself exempt from any and all laws, rules, norms, and expectations that apply to everyone else, and that he sees himself that way because he cares about no one and nothing outside himself.

A Ford spokesperson told the Associated Press earlier this week that the company informed the White House that it requires everyone in factories to wear masks. But the spokesperson noted, “The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination,” leaving unanswered the question of whether Trump will cover his face Thursday.

That’s not ok. The requirement exists to protect people, and the White House has no right to have “its own policies” such that Trump gets to endanger people. It’s that simple. Trump doesn’t get to visit a Ford factory with an assault rifle and shoot a bunch of people, and he doesn’t get to refuse to wear a mask.

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