OAKMONT, Pa. — President Donald Trump’s son Eric made a surprise visit to one of Allegheny County’s most popular spots Thursday morning: Oakmont Bakery.
But it’s the nature of the visit that has sparked controversy.
Trump wore a mask into the building but removed it when interacting with supporters.
Channel 11 News' exchange partners at TribLIVE were there as Trump spoke to supporters at the popular bakery. He handed out cookies that featured images of his father, which is part of the bakery’s traditional cookie poll leading up to an election.
Trump is in the lead, with 13,656 cookies sold, Oakmont Bakery owner Marc Serrao told The Trib. The bakery has sold 2,813 Biden cookies.
Hours after Trump spoke with dozens of supporters of his father, the bakery took to social media to address why he wasn’t asked to keep his mask on.
In a Facebook post, bakery officials said the secret service didn’t allow workers to “get near Mr. Trump to address him” about wearing a mask inside. In the same post, the bakery said they approach “all guests without masks on.”
Some viewers commented on our story, saying they were going to boycott the bakery over the mask issue. Marc Serrao, who co-owns Oakmont Bakery, told Channel 11 what happened was out of his control.
Tony Serrao, the other co-owner, said he was concerned customers would stop coming because of this.
“We take people’s health into consideration always. A lot of my family works here, and our staff’s like our family, so I’m afraid that we’re going to lose customers," he said. "I hope not, our mission is to create delicious memories and be a destination for Pittsburgh.”
The full, raw interview with both owners is below.
You can read the bakery’s full statement, which was posted on Facebook Thursday, below:
"Today, we had a surprise visit from Eric Trump. We had no foreknowledge of the visit until the secret service informed us of his plans approximately 1 hour before he arrived. The secret service partitioned off a section of the bakery for Eric to address his supporters. Eric entered the bakery with a mask on and then took off his mask to address his supporters. The secret service did not allow us to get near Mr. Trump to address him. The morning was overwhelming to say the least and we were holding people outside because of social distancing and approaching all guests without masks on as we always do.
We have had other political visitors make surprise visits to us before such as Governor Wolf & Senator Costa and we have welcomed them all to our bakery. We do not express a political opinion because we are here to sell baked goods. We do not want to cause division with our employees, customers or community at large. We have been selling campaign cookies for over 20 years and have never expressed bias in any way. If anyone can get Vice President Biden to visit our bakery, we would be honored to welcome him as well."
© 2020 Cox Media Group