A Maine factory that produces coronavirus testing supplies said it will have to discard all nasal swabs that were made during Donald Trump's Friday visit. The news comes after Maine officials expressed concern over the state's shortage of medical swabs, which has limited its testing capacity and overall mission to combat the spread of the virus.
A spokesperson for Puritan Medical Products told USA Today that the factory had to limit its production while Trump toured the facility—maskless, of course—but did not explain why the swabs had to be tossed out.
"The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor," company marketing manager Virginia Templet told the outlet. "Swabs produced during that time will be discarded."
During his visit, Trump praised Puritan Medical for "playing a vital role in the greatest national industrial mobilization since World War II."
"On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank you. You’re building a big addition right alongside," he told factory employees. "... Puritan is one of the only manufacturers in the world producing the high-quality medical swabs that are crucial for the rapid testing, and every swab you make at Puritan is proudly stamped with a beautiful phrase, 'Made in the USA. Do you like that phrase? Beautiful phrase."
Trump's visit was part of his ongoing tour of U.S. factories that have produced critical supplies for the fight against COVID-19. He previously made appearances at a Michigan Ford Motor factory that is manufacturing ventilators, the Pennsylvania Owens & Minor Inc., which is producing personal protective equipment, as well as the Arizona Honeywell plant that makes N95 masks. During most of these tours, POTUS was seen not wearing a mask, despite the purported signs around the facilities saying to do so.
"I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," Trump said, when asked why he declined to wear a mask during the aforementioned Ford factory tour. "... They said not necessary."