Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. President Donald Trump pretends to take a Covid-19 test while holding a swab during his visit of the Puritan Medical Products facility in Guilford, Maine on June 5, 2020. The facility said after Trump's visit it would have to discard tests that were made during the president's visit because he did not wear a face mask. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Due to Trump's Maskless Visit, Medical Supplier in Maine Forced to Toss Out Badly-Needed Swabs

"Thanks, President Jackass."

Julia Conley

Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, Maine will have to discard an untold number of medical swabs that were manufactured while President Donald Trump toured its facility on Friday, after the president flouted basic sanitary precautions during his visit to the company's production line. 

As with most of the president's public appearances during the coronavirus pandemic, Trump did not wear a face mask or any other personal protective equipment during his visit to Puritan, which is one of just two companies in the world that make the cotton swabs needed for coronavirus tests. 

In contrast with Trump, the Puritan employees seen in photos and footage of the event wore masks, gloves, goggles, and plastic coverings over their shoes. 

At one point during the visit, the president put his arm around an employee before saying, "I'm not supposed to do that."

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat who is challenging Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for her Senate seat, slammed the president for coming to Maine for a photo-op at all in the middle of a public health and economic crisis as well as unrest over racial injustice—especially considering his visit may have worsened swab shortages across the country. 

Former Senate candidate Ross LaJeunesse was more succinct in a tweet directed at the president:

Slow production of swabs has been identified as a key reason behind the U.S. government's delays in manufacturing coronavirus tests. As NPR reported last month, Trump did not invoke the Defense Production Act to order scaled-up swab production at Puritan until April 19, more than a month after state officials including Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo raised alarm over the lack of swabs. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in mid-April that weeks prior, he had written to the president and urged him to "mobilize the incredible supply chains that the Department of Defense has and to ask them to convert some of their production from other hardware and software to swabs and contact vials and machines that can do analysis. And he did not agree with that assessment, and we lost weeks, frankly."

Last month, the Portland Press Herald reported that 61% of Maine's nursing homes, where many of its coronavirus cases have been confirmed, had seven or fewer swabs on hand to conduct tests. Nearly a third of the nursing homes had no swabs. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·


Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo