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.

Family of Officer Who Died After Jan. 6 Won't Shake Hands With McConnell, McCarthy

"No one should shake hands with insurrectionist sympathizers," said Voto Latino.

Jessica Corbett ·

Sanders Says He Has Enough Support to Pass Yemen War Powers Resolution

"By removing the possibility of more U.S. support for Riyadh and its partners to renew airstrikes in Yemen, Congress can play a constructive role to keep the pressure on the Saudis to negotiate an extension of the truce," said two advocates for the resolution.

Julia Conley ·

On Election Day, Warnock Supporters Urge Georgians 'Don't Walk, Run to the Polls!'

"The stakes could not be higher," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Alexis McGill Johnson, who campaigned for the Democratic senator. "Freedom is on the ballot."

Jessica Corbett ·

Biden Admin Takes 'Urgent and Necessary' Step to Protect 100,000+ Haitians From Deportation

"This decision will save lives and is the type of compassionate response this moment demands," said Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who led a call from Democrats in Congress to allow Haitians living in the United States to remain during the country's "unprecedented crisis."

Brett Wilkins ·

Revealing New Evidence in Abu Akleh's Killing, Al Jazeera Sues Israeli Forces at ICC

The news network said the journalist's killing was part of a "wider attack on Al Jazeera, and journalists in Palestine."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo