Donald Trump’s Trip to Michigan’s Ford Factory Was … Weird
On Thursday, Donald Trump visited a Ford factory in Michigan and the whole thing was extremely strange from start to finish—and past finished, actually.
First, Trump didn’t wear a mask during his tour, despite the company’s policy of requiring everyone inside the plant to be wearing a face covering. Apparently, Trump did wear one during private meetings at the factory but took it off for the photo-op portion of the tour.
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) May 22, 2020
The reason he gave for removing his mask was that he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” which is such a bizarre mentality, to have turned masks into a completely one-sided war of egos.
Reporter: “Could you just take us through your thought process of why you decided not to wear a mask.”
President Trump: “I had one on before. I wore one in this back area — but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” pic.twitter.com/AmJXUecymp
— The Hill (@thehill) May 21, 2020
Things continued to get worse after the tour, when Trump gave a speech and decided to praise the “good bloodlines” of Ford Motor’s founder Henry Ford.
“In our lifetimes, the company founded by a man named Henry Ford—good bloodlines, good bloodlines—if you believe in that stuff,” he said, adding, “You got good blood.” It wasn’t clear if that last bit was meant for Ford’s great-grandson and the company’s current executive chairman William Clay Ford, who was present, or maybe just employees of the factory, like, by association. Either way, it was a gross thing to say.
Here’s the thing about Henry Ford that makes that “good bloodlines” comment so particularly terrible: He was a famously huge anti-Semite, just absolutely terrible and also hugely influential. He bought his hometown newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and used it to publish a series of articles that ran for more than 90 issues in which he claimed there was a vast international Jewish conspiracy. Hitler loved Ford’s writings, he was inspired by him, and he literally gave Ford an award.
Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer who wrote “The International Jew, the World’s Foremost Problem.”
Hitler called Ford an “inspiration” & gave him the highest Nazi medal for foreigners.
Trump praising Ford’s “good bloodlines” = a dog-whistle to antisemites & white nationalists. https://t.co/478q3Oq67r
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) May 21, 2020
“Bloodlines” is never really an acceptable subject to bring up (unprompted, no less, and during a tour of a car factory) but when discussing a known anti-Semite, it’s less a dog whistle than a scream from the mountaintops.
I have a question: if the president praises the “bloodlines” of Henry Ford, an avowed anti-Semite who had a bromance with Hitler, is Godwin’s Law suspended for the duration of this news cycle?
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) May 21, 2020
Once Trump left Michigan, things didn’t get much better. The state’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, criticized Trump and his refusal to wear a mask. “The president is a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules, and I have to say, this is no joke,” she said during an appearance on CNN.
ICYMI: Michigan AG @DanaNessel joined @CNN to talk about President Trump’s visit to Michigan and the importance of taking safety precautions, like wearing a mask in public spaces. pic.twitter.com/rgimLfYjCY
— Democratic AGs (@DemocraticAGs) May 21, 2020
Trump responded by calling her angry and stupid, claiming that he was personally responsible for job growth in Michigan.
Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor – they might get upset with you and leave the state, like so many other companies have – until I came along and brought business back to Michigan. JOBS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2020
He also accused her of “viciously threatening” Ford motors—which she didn’t. She said her department would have to have a “very serious conversation” with Ford because companies in the state are not supposed to allow people inside their doors without maks, “even the President of the United States.”
But her real criticism was aimed at Trump. Her CNN appearance was about the importance of wearing a mask in public spaces—as is the policy at Ford.
The Wacky Do Nothing Attorney General of Michigan, Dana Nessel, is viciously threatening Ford Motor Company for the fact that I inspected a Ventilator plant without a mask. Not their fault, & I did put on a mask. No wonder many auto companies left Michigan, until I came along!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2020
“I think the message he sent [by going without a mask” is the same message since he first took office in 2017, which is ‘I don’t care about you,'” Nessel said, “‘I don’t care about your health, I don’t care about your safety, I don’t care about your welfare, I don’t care about anyone but myself.’ And he’s continuously sent this message and what I would say back is that even if you don’t have a President of the United States that cares about the residents of this state, fortunately, you have a governor and you have an attorney general who do. And we’re going to do everything in our power to protect you, even if you have a president who won’t.”
(image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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