May 22, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel didn't hold back after Trump broke the law in Michigan -- by refusing to wear a mask full-time while touring the Ford manufacturing plant. She spoke to Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" on Thursday." Transcript via CNN:

BLITZER: Let's continue the discussion right now with Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel. Attorney General, thank you so much for joining us.

This morning, you said right here on CNN that if President Trump doesn't wear a mask, he'll be asked not to return to any undisclosed facilities in your state. Is the President no longer welcome in Michigan?

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I will say speaking on behalf of my department and my office, that's right. That's exactly right. I mean, today's events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable. And I will say that, you know, understanding of course, that his own doctor, Dr. Fauci, a zone medical expert recommends the wearing of masks in public enclosed spaces. The CDC makes that recommendation.

In Michigan of course now that is the law. I -- and fact a court just upheld that just upheld the governor's orders just hours ago. And even in Ford, it is their own policy. So the President is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules. And I have to say, this is no joke. I mean, you just reported that 93,000 people have died in the United States. He is in a county right now were over 100 people have died. I am 20 minutes away from him in Wayne County where we've had over 2,300 people die. This is not a joke.

And he's conveying the worst possible message to people who cannot afford to be on the receiving end of terrible misinformation. And it's very, very concerning.

BLITZER: You wrote a letter to the President earlier, before his visit. And you said this, among other things, let me put it up on the screen. Anyone who has potentially been recently exposed, including the President of United States has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus.

So what message did the President of United States sent to the people of Michigan today, especially the workers there at that Ford plant, with his actions today, behind the scenes backstage, he put on a mask, there were no cameras allowed there, but publicly the whole time he was without a mask.

NESSEL: I think the message he sent is the same message since he first took office in 2017, which is, I don't care about you. 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 are going to do everything in our power to protect you, even if you have a president who won't.

BLITZER: Because you actually have threatened action against any company or facility for that matter that allows the president inside without a mask. Will this Ford plant, for example, a face any consequences?

NESSEL: Well, I think that we're going to have to have a very serious consequence -- conversation with Ford, in the event that they permitted the President to be in publicly enclosed places, in violation of the order. They knew exactly what the order was. And if they permitted anyone, even the President of United States to defy that order, I think it has serious health consequences, potentially to their workers.

And this was a lengthy negotiation and discussion between the UAW, the big three auto manufacturers and our governor to ensure that people if they went back to work, they would be safe. And this was a promise, it was a commitment that was made by the beginning to our auto workers who have been getting sick, and who we just opened up these plants again, just on Monday, Ford already had a few plants that had to close down because people were testing positive again.

The last thing we want to see is for this particular plant now to have to close it stores and shuttered stores, again, because someone may have been infected by the President. And that is a real possibility. But it also sends a message that anybody can do whatever they want, because look, the President did it. So why can't I? It's a terrible message to send. It's incredibly disappointing. And it's very disrespectful to the people of our state.

BLITZER: You know, his explanation when a reporter asked them, why wouldn't you wear a mask? What's the big deal? Why not wear a mask? And his explanation and I want you to your reaction to this Attorney General. He said I didn't want to -- I'm paraphrasing a little bit. "I didn't want to give the media the pleasure." The pleasure -- he used the word "pleasure" -- of seeing me wear a mask. What's your reaction to that?

NESSEL: Well, it's my reaction to many of the things that we hear Donald Trump say and that's that he is a ridiculous person and I am ashamed to have him be President of the United States of America.

And I hope that the voters of Michigan will remember this back in when November comes, that he didn't care enough about their safety. He didn't care about their welfare. He didn't respect them enough just to engage in a very simple task, the painless task, the easy task of wearing a mask when he was provided one. And so I hope that we'll have a new president soon enough, who does respect people more than this president does.

BLITZER: All the other people there that we saw, including all the top Ford executives, they were all wearing masks, which is the rule which is the law. As you put forward only the President, at least in the pictures we saw, refusing to wear a mask.

Attorney General Dana Nessel, thank you so much for what you're doing. Thanks so much for joining us.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me Wolf.

You rock Dana!

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