(CNN)The big question in advance of President Donald Trump’s trip to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan Thursday afternoon is, will he or won’t he wear a mask? The plant has a policy that everyone must wear one, but has given Trump an out saying that the White House can make its own “determination” as to whether the President will wear a face covering.
One thing that we know for sure: The American public very much wants him to wear one.
Two-thirds (67%) said Trump should be wearing a mask when he is in public, while less than 3 in 10 (27%) said he should not, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll. Democrats were most in favor of Trump being masked (90%) while 66% of independents said the same. A minority of Republicans (38%) believe Trump should wear a mask in public.
Those numbers closely parallel the public’s views on mask-wearing more generally in the poll. Fully 64% say that everyone should be wearing a mask in public and, again, Democrats (87%) are most supportive of the idea followed by independents (50%) and then Republicans (40%).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is clear when it comes to masks and their ability to slow the spread of the coronavirus: You should wear them. Here’s its guidance from earlier this month:
“CDC also recommends that everyone wear cloth face coverings when leaving their homes, regardless of whether they have fever or symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of evidence that people with COVID-19 can spread the disease, even when they don’t have any symptoms.”
Despite those guidelines, Trump has not been photographed in public wearing a mask during the pandemic.
Remember what Trump said about whether he would wear a mask when announcing the new CDC guidelines on mask-wearing in mid-April: “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it. … Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it.”
Then, earlier this month, in a trip to a Honeywell mask-making plant in Arizona, Trump claimed that he had, in fact, work a mask — but just not when any reporters or cameras were around. “I had a mask on for a period of time,” Trump said. “I had it on back — backstage. But they said you didn’t need it, so, I didn’t need it. And by the way, if you noticed, nobody else had it on that was in the group.”
Asked earlier this week about whether he planned to wear a mask during his tour of the Ford plant Thursday, Trump was decidedly evasive:
“I haven’t even thought of it. It depends. In certain areas I would, in certain areas I don’t. But I will certainly look at it. It depends on what situation. Am I standing right next to everybody, or am I spread out? And also you look, is something a hospital? Is it a ward? What is it exactly? I’m going to a plant. So we’ll see. Where it’s appropriate I would do it certainly.”
In short: Don’t bet on it. (Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in an interview on “New Day” Thursday morning that if Trump doesn’t wear a mask “he’s going to be asked to not return to any enclosed facilities inside our state.”)
Assuming Trump doesn’t wear a mask — and I think that’s a safe bet judging from the fact that he has never done so in public — it will be the latest example of the administration’s do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do approach to facial coverings amid the coronavirus.
Vice President Mike Pence sparked controversy last month when he was photographed at the Mayo Clinic without a mask, the only person in the picture to not have a face covering on. Pence and his wife, second lady Karen Pence, offered up a number of excuses and explanations for why he hadn’t worn a mask before Pence ultimately acknowledged that he should have done so.
Following the news that Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, had come down with the coronavirus, the vice president was occasionally spotted wearing a mask. But during a trip to Florida on Wednesday, Pence went to a crowded burger joint with Gov. Ron DeSantis and neither man wore a mask, according to the pool report.
Politicians tend to do everything they can to make sure they act in ways the public wants them to. Especially when two-thirds of the public feels a certain way. Mask-wearing appears to be an exception to that political rule.