Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday used President Donald Trump’s stay at Walter Reed Medical Center to renew his calls for the president to institute a nationwide mask mandate, beginning with interstate travel and federal facilities.
What did he say?
President Trump posted messages and videos during his stay at Walter Reed over the weekend while being treated for the coronavirus.
Early Monday, he began tweeting campaign messages on taxes, guns, law and order, the economy, the military, religious liberty, abortion, health care, and more. He also reminded supporters to register to vote and volunteer for the campaign.
While the president was continuing to recover at Walter Reed, Biden used a campaign stop in Miami Monday to renew his call for a nationwide mask mandate.
Back in August, Biden announced his support for the mandate, declaring, “Every American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” and calling for the government to institute a nationwide mask mandate, which, he claimed, would “save over 40,000 live in the next three months.” He reiterated support for that plan during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Just a few weeks later, Biden walked back the demand for a mandate and admitted that it would likely be unconstitutional.
Asked about a mask mandate during an interview on “Politics Unplugged,” Biden said, “Here’s the deal, the federal government … there’s a constitutional issue whether the federal government could issue such a mandate, I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”
Fast-forward a month and the Biden campaign is using the president’s coronavirus diagnosis to once again call for the federal government to force a nationwide mask mandate.
“Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists, support masks, support a mask mandate nationwide,” Biden said to applause before a live audience in Little Havana.
“Require masks in every federal building and facility and interstate travel,” he continued.
“Urge every governor in America to do the same,” Biden added. “We know it saves lives.”
“Experts say that universal masking could save, between now and January, 100,000 lives,” he stated. “You know, I backed that mandate months ago. He should back it now.”
The former vice president did not bother to add his subsequent admission that such a mandate would be unconstitutional.
Biden also said the Trump administration on Friday rejected a mask mandate for public transportation.
He was referring to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rejection of a petition — not a government-created policy plan — from a labor union connected to the AFL-CIO asking for a department-wide policy requiring, as The Hill reported, every passenger on a DOT-approved vehicle to wear a mask.