WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he did not wear a mask during a tour on Tuesday of a Honeywell International Inc factory in Arizona after consulting the company's chief executive, despite requirements at the plant that workers wear them.
Trump, speaking to reporters at a White House event marking National Nurses Day, said he tried some masks on backstage, including one from Honeywell, 3M and about four others.
"I can't help it if you didn't see me. But I had a mask on, but I didn't need it. And I asked specifically the head of Honeywell ... and he said you don't need one," Trump said.
Asked how long he had one on, Trump said, "Not too long, but I had it on. I had it on backstage, but they said you didn't need it" adding that "nobody else had it on in the group" during his tour except for the workers who were next to each other.
Trump wore safety goggles during the factory tour. Production workers wore masks and a sign was visible that read: "Attention: Face Mask Required in this Area. Thank You!"
Honeywell said on Wednesday, "Following White House recommended protocol, a small number of individuals directly interfacing with the president ... were tested for COVID-19 immediately prior to the event, received negative test results, and were permitted to not wear masks ... All others present were wearing masks ... in accordance with Honeywell’s site policy.”
Vice President Mike Pence was criticized in recent days for not wearing a face mask when visiting patients at the Mayo Clinic last month, something he apologized for during a television interview on Sunday.