President Donald Trump lashed out at Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a series of late-night Twitter posts Thursday after she called him a “petulant child” for not wearing a mask during most of his tour tour of a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan and suggested the company could face consequences for allowing him to violate state orders.
Deriding her as the “Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan,” Trump wrote that Nessel should not take her “anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor” or else the company might leave the state.
Trump said it was not Ford’s fault he did not wear a mask during the part of the tour that was open to news media cameras, but he added: “I did put on a mask” for part of the visit.
Nessel, a Democrat, had slammed Trump for not wearing a mask, telling CNN on Thursday, “This is not a joke. He’s conveying the worst possible message to people who cannot afford to be on the receiving end of terrible misinformation.”
The state would need to have a “very serious conversation with Ford” if they allowed him to violate the state’s orders on mask-wearing, Nessel added.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders mandate face masks in public enclosed spaces, and Ford policy required masks as well. Nessel sent a letter to Trump earlier Wednesday asking him to wear a mask out of a legal, social, and moral responsibility “to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus.”
Whitmer also criticized Trump for not wearing a mask during the public part of the tour, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “It wasn’t surprising, but it was disappointing,” the governor said of Trump’s decision.
“Anyone in a position of power and responsibility, I hope, emulates and does precisely what they’re asking everyone else to do,” she said.
Ford executives had encouraged Trump to wear a mask during his tour of the factory Thursday, but he told reporters he took it off when he came near new media photographers because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
In a statement issued shortly after he left the Ford facility, the company said William Clay Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman and the great-grandson of Henry Ford had “encouraged” Trump to wear a mask.
“Bill Ford encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived,” the company said in the statement. “He wore a mask during a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years. The President later removed the mask for the remainder of the visit.”
Contributing: John Fritze, Courtney Subramanian