While he walked back initial campaign rhetoric that seemed to support a likely unconstitutional federal mandate for face-mask use, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not backing away from the issue entirely.
During an event this week, the former vice president confirmed he would issue a mask mandate on federal land and violators could face a fine, as reported by Breitbart.
“Call every governor in the country”
His remarks on the matter came during a town hall event broadcast by CNN on Thursday.
“I cannot mandate people wearing masks,” he acknowledged, going on to outline what his plan as president would include.
Biden said he “would call every governor in the country into the White House, say, you should be putting mandates out,” adding that in states led by governors who refused, he would “call the mayors in their towns, in their cities and say, put out mandates.”
He did specify one exception, however, asserting that federal lands would remain susceptible to an executive order.
“I would like to see the governors enforce mask-wearing, period,” Biden continued. “I can do that on federal property. As president, I will do that. On federal land, I’d have the authority. If you’re on federal land, you must wear a mask, in a federal building, you must wear a mask. And we could have a fine for them not doing it. Look, this is about saving people’s lives. There’s no question that it saves people’s lives.”
“Wouldn’t issue a mandate”
Whether universal use of face masks is indeed beneficial or not, Biden is one of many elected officials — particularly within the Democratic Party — who has flirted with the idea of a national mandate.
“So let’s just institute a mass mandate nationwide starting immediately,” he said in August. “And we will save — the estimates are that we will save 40,000 lives in the next three months once that is done.”
Earlier this month, however, he equivocated, noting the apparent “constitutional issue” involved and broadly affirming that he “wouldn’t issue a mandate.”
There is no way to know which of his various positions would be reflected in a Biden administration, but voters are doubtlessly considering the impact his shifting stances could have on their lives.