Trump's opposition to masks could cost him votes in one key region: 'I’m afraid of anti-masker meltdowns'
US President Donald Trump holds a press conference on COVID-19 in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 13, 2020. AFP / SAUL LOEB

President Donald Trump's mixed messages on masks could end up costing him votes in one Michigan stronghold.


The president won 14 of the 15 counties in the state's Upper Peninsula, which helped him eke out a 10,704-vote victory for Michigan's 16 electoral votes, but some of his previous supporters feel let down by his response to the coronavirus pandemic, reported the New York Times.

“If Trump had just worn that damn mask from the beginning, his supporters would have too,” said lifelong Republican Rod Nelson, who voted for the president four years ago but won't in November.

The newspaper found some "Yoopers," as residents are called, who opposed mask requirements, but it also found others who feel like the president failed a leadership test by refusing to wear or endorse face coverings.

“I’m older, my bills are paid and my farm is all paid for,” said 63-year-old Cindy Dutcher, who kept her self-pick blueberry farm closed this summer rather than put up with mask opposition. “There’s no way that I’d open my farm to the public this year, because I’m afraid of anti-masker meltdowns.”

Shirley Dishaw-Beck, a 60-year-old nurse and Democrat, blames Trump for the opposition to coronavirus safety measures.

“We had a directive from our bishop that said masks are mandatory and at church this morning, a few anti-maskers began shouting and being really aggressive about it,” Dishaw-Beck said. “This mask thing is breaking my heart that people aren’t concerned or caring enough about others.”

Although support for the president's re-election appears to be softer than it was in 2016, he's still likely to carry the Republican-leaning region.

“He’s a sarcastic egomaniac, but that’s part of what I like about him,” said 63-year-old Tuffy Burton, who owns a logging company. “Because maybe there’s a little bit of me that says and does the same thing.”