Friday, 22 May 2020

The face of defiance: Trump, unmasked, at a Ford plant in Michigan

It goes on your face, not in your hand.
It goes on your face, not in your hand.(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Touring a Ford plant in Michigan Thursday, President Trump wore a mask, as he should’ve. But either his vanity or arrogance or both made him shove the mask adorned with the presidential seal in his pocket when he appeared before the cameras.
As Trump might say: not good.
Everyone else, from the chairman of Ford to Trump aides, kept on their face coverings. Don didn’t, contrary to the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, and the pleas of his U.S. surgeon general, and the laws of Michigan, and the rules of the motor company. By pronouncing himself above it all, he tacitly encouraged millions to act the same.
On a hunch informed by anecdote, the man will ignore evidence and swallow a pill with potentially dangerous side effects. Yet he won’t publicly show the simple step of donning a mask when experts say it’s one of the best ways to reduce person-to-person transmission of coronavirus.

More than a century ago, a far better president heralded the importance of the “bully pulpit,” a recognition that the power of the most important office in the land is crystallized in the words and example of the person who occupies it.

Trump said he put the face-covering away for the public portion of his presentation because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” Which exactly, completely, misses the point.

The public should see that their leader prizes public health over personal pride. But, of course, this one doesn’t.

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