Days after announcing his running mate, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is going on the offensive with another risky move.
At a press conference Thursday, the former vice president called on all Americans to wear masks while outside for the next three months, The Epoch Times reported.
Biden to Americans: Mask up!
Attacking President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is a linchpin of Biden’s messaging, and in recent days, the idea of a national mask mandate has become Democratic boilerplate. Echoing this at a press conference with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in Delaware, Biden called on every governor to enact a mask rule, claiming vaguely that “the experts” say it would save 40,000 lives.
“Every American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,” Biden said Thursday, according to Fox News.
The mask mandate is the first major policy announcement since Biden was joined on the campaign trail (or what is left of it) by Harris, a Democratic senator and former prosecutor from California.
Lambasting Trump’s handling of the virus, Biden said that it’s “not about your rights” and that mask-wearing is a matter of responsibility and patriotism, according to CNS News.
“Protect your fellow citizens. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do the right thing. Do the right thing,” Biden remarked, according to Fox.
Although polls show that a majority of Americans support the idea, a national mandate on masks is probably unconstitutional, and it would certainly prove controversial.
Once derided by experts as ineffective, masks have suddenly become compulsory in many parts of the country. But Americans have split on the issue, with Republicans and Democrats tending to view masks as either a form of control by cynical bureaucrats or a basic courtesy backed by science, respectively.
As Fox noted, President Trump, after being attacked for avoiding masks, made an about-face recently and encouraged Americans to do the “patriotic” thing by covering their faces while in public and when social distancing can’t be maintained. But he has stopped short of calling for a national mandate, calling instead on governors to figure it out for themselves.
“Everybody who is saying don’t wear a mask — all of sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know masks cause problems, too,” Trump told Fox News last month. “With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”
As The Epoch Times notes, Biden and Harris took no questions before taking their leave Thursday.