Trump thanks Ford workers for ventilators during Michigan trip

President Trump traveled to Michigan Thursday to visit a Ford plant converted to making ventilators, and thanked employees for their efforts to help save Americans’ lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With your help, not a single American has been denied a ventilator, not a single one,” Trump said during the campaign-style appearance at the Rawsonville plant in 2020 battleground Michigan.

The president said he wore a protective face mask — which photos of the event showed had a presidential seal — while touring the plant but took it off before he spoke to workers.

“I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump said, later donning one of the protective face shields also made at the plant.

Asked about the Ford executives wearing masks, which the company requires workers to wear, he said it’s “their choice.”

The president also mourned victims of the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 85,000 American lives, and praised health care workers.

“As one people, we hold in our hearts the precious memory of every person that we have lost. We have lost too many, one is too many. As one grateful nation, we proclaim god bless our health care workers. They are like warriors,” he said.

Trump has urged states to loosen coronavirus-related restrictions so the battered US economy can recover even as public health experts warn that premature relaxation of restrictions could lead to a second wave of deadly infections.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat seen as a potential vice presidential running mate for presumptive presidential challenger Joe Biden, is facing a backlash from some critics against her stay-at-home orders in a state hit hard by the last recession even though polls show most residents support her handling of the pandemic.

Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan over its plan for expanded mail-in voting, saying without offering evidence that the practice could lead to voter fraud – and said Thursday the threat was still on the table, though he declined to say what funding could be cut.

Whitmer told a news conference she spoke with Trump on Wednesday and he pledged federal support in the recovery from flooding caused by dam failures.

“I made the case that, you know, we all have to be on the same page here. We’ve got to stop demonizing one another and really focus on the fact that the common enemy is the virus. And now it’s a natural disaster,” Whitmer told CBS News, describing her conversation with Trump.

U.S. President Trump visits Ford Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, MichiganUS-POLITICS-TRUMPU.S. President Trump visits Ford Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan

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