President Donald Trump’s scheduled tour of the Braskem factory in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania last week was delayed, reportedly because workers were afraid that the event would put them at risk for COVID-19.
Trump was supposed to visit the factory, which produces a material used for personal protective equipment (PPE) that medical professionals need while treating COVID-19 patients, last Friday to be seen thanking workers as his administration fumbles its response to the PPE shortage crisis in the country.
However, Braskem’s corporate officials asked the White House to delay the visit from Trump, who has staunchly refused to wear a mask despite health officials’ recommendations, because they felt his appearance would be too dangerous to the workers and hinder production, according to the Washington Post. Though the White House reportedly kept pushing solutions to assuage the company’s concerns, Braskem said Trump would need to wait until the outbreak ends.
The White House and Braskem’s communications office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment at the time of writing.
Mark Nikolich, the CEO of Braskem, told the Post that 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,” he added.
White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley rejected the possibility of Trump putting the workers at risk in a statement to the Post.
“President Trump’s top priority is the safety and security of the American people, and the idea that during this pandemic he wants an event of any kind that would violate our own guidelines to opening up America again is categorically false,” he said.