Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) reiterated this week that if elected, she and running mate Joe Biden would enact a nationwide federal mask mandate as one of their first initiatives in the White House. However, she said the action wouldn’t have any teeth, promising that “nobody’s going to be punished.”
What are the details?
During an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, the California Democrat confirmed that federal action ordering Americans to wear facial coverings would be a top priority. But when she was asked how it would be enforced, she answered, “It’s really a standard. C’mon, nobody’s going to be punished.”
“Nobody likes to wear a mask,” she continued. “This is a universal feeling, right? So that’s not the point, ‘hey let’s enjoy wearing masks.’ No, the point is, this is what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now. God willing, it won’t be forever. But this is a sacrifice we have to make.”
Kamala Harris Backs Off National Mask Mandate
Harris’ claim that violators of her and Biden’s mask order would not be punished left folks with questions on social media. One user wrote, “Then it’s not a mandate, it’s a suggestion. We already have that suggestion, so what’s the difference?”
Media outlets reported that Harris had scaled back her ticket’s “mandate” promise, with The New York Times reporting that “Harris framed the mask requirement she and Joe Biden have called for as more of a ‘standard’ than a mandate.”
Biden called for a full mandate two weeks ago during a speech in Wilmington, Del., the New York Post reported. He told his audience, “Let’s just institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately.” He reiterated his call for a nationwide mandate in his address to the Democratic National Convention last week.
President Donald Trump has criticized Biden’s calls for a federal mask mandate, calling out the Democrat for failing to explain how such an order would be enforced by federal law enforcement and asking why he would make such a call over the heads of state governors.
WFMY-TV reported that the the Congressional Research Service says there is “no law enforcement apparatus to independently enforce such orders” even if such a mandate held up in court.
Earlier this month, the president suggested Biden’s push for a federal mask mandate would trample on people’s rights.
“All Americans must have their freedoms,” he said, according to Fox News. “I trust the American people very much. Joe doesn’t know too much.”