President Donald Trump’s factory tours may be putting workers and himself at risk, according to public health experts.
The president on Thursday will make his third coronavirus-related trip to a battleground state this month when he tours a Ford factory in Michigan, but public health experts and former White House aides worry that those visits are risky, reported NBC News.
“The White House is a potential hot zone for COVID — aides and valets close to the president are diagnosing positive,” said Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert. “If I’m a factory owner, do I really want a large group of visitors from the West Wing visiting me now under these circumstances, just to snap a few pictures? No.”
The White House insists factory workers who meet the president are required to take rapid coronavirus tests, which is now standard for everyone who comes into contact with him or Vice President Mike Pence, but those tests aren’t always accurate.
Trump himself refuses to wear face masks, and has sometimes disregarded health and safety practices mandated by the states he’s visiting.
“Any Presidential visit outside of Washington, D.C. is a heavy lift in terms of personnel and resources,” said Greg Jenkins, a deputy assistant to the president and director of White House advance operations for President George W. Bush. “It’s almost impossible to think through how to do this. You’ve got to consider every potential infringement of social distancing and mitigate that.”
A former staffer under President Barack Obama said Trump’s visits are risky and costly.
“There’s massive debates between the Secret Service and the local police on what they will pay for,” said Johanna Maska, who served as Obama’s director of press advance. “The Secret Service will pay for things to protect the president, but, for example, if it has to do with protesters — [of] which there are a lot — that is not a cost that the Secret Service would be willing to assume.”