With President Trump wanting to get out of Washington, D.C., and show off his leadership skills, White House staffers thought it would be smart to have Trump visit a Pennsylvania plant that produced personal protective equipment, two people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post, but the plan fizzled after factory officials decided it was just too risky to hold the event.
The Braskem factory in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, made headlines when employees remained inside the building for 28 days, making medical gear without worrying about the items becoming contaminated by coronavirus. During discussions between factory officials and the White House advance team, Braskem conveyed its concern that a Trump visit would jeopardize the safety of workers and the plant's ability to make a special fabric needed for its medical gear. They worried there wasn't enough room to social distance, and wouldn't have let workers attend the event anyway, the Post reports.
The White House, which wanted the event to be held last Friday, suggested holding something outside instead, but the factory finally said there was too much of a risk and asked to have the visit rescheduled for after the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Braskem CEO Mark Nikolich said the company was "deeply honored by the White House's acknowledgment of our production resiliency teams. However, after many discussions, the parties agreed due to the nature of petrochemical operations and the safety of our team members and visitors a visit wasn't feasible."
Last Tuesday, Trump went to a Honeywell facility in Phoenix that made masks, while not wearing a face covering himself. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence trekked to a Virginia nursing home to deliver personal protective equipment, joined by Katie Miller, his press secretary. Neither one wore a mask, and on Friday, Miller tested positive for coronavirus. That didn't prevent Pence from flying to Iowa, where he interacted with Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).