There has been a growing chorus among the left demanding a nationwide order requiring everyone in America to wear a face mask while out in public as a precaution against further spread of the new coronavirus.
The Trump administration has been resistant to such demands, however — and according to Breitbart, Vice President Mike Pence has just put an end to any speculation that the White House may change its mind.
During an exclusive interview with Breitbart during a campaign visit to Wisconsin, Pence confirmed the rumors on the topic of face masks: “We don’t support a national mandate.”
Federalism in practice
The basis of that position is an adherence to the ideal of federalism that undergirds our nation’s form of government — namely, that local and state governments are better informed and best suited to address the needs of their constituents than a broad and distant federal government.
“From the moment the president stood up to FEMA to coordinate our national response, we’ve taken the approach that our response to the coronavirus pandemic is federally supported, state-managed, and locally executed,” Pence explained, according to Breitbart.
“That federalism model is why we have been able to meet this moment, and it’s going to continue to guide our approach. Had we taken a one-size-fits-all approach from the beginning, we would have been in a very different place,” the VP added.
Pence further explained that, because of this approach and allowing states and localities to take the lead in responding to the pandemic, the federal government has been better able to surge assistance and resources to the regions that need it the most, rather than distributing things across the nation in a manner inconsistent with the way in which the virus actually spread.
No national mandate
Getting back to the issue of face masks and the fact that Pence — much more than President Donald Trump himself — has been quite consistent about wearing a mask while out among the public, the vice president said, “I just think it’s always a good idea to wear a mask wherever state and local officials say it’s warranted and you can’t practice social distancing.
“Our attitude about going forward is to support decisions that are made by governors, believing that they know what’s best not just by a statewide basis, but on a county-by-county basis,” he added.
As for President Trump, who was recently spotted wearing a mask during a visit to Walter Reed Military Hospital, he was asked in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace about whether he would support a nationwide mask mandate. “No, I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don’t believe in that,” Trump replied.
The president went on to point out that the opinions of medical experts on the topic have changed over time — first, mask were unnecessary, now they should be required. “With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good. But I leave it up to the governors,” Trump said, according to Fox.
If it wasn’t already clear, there should be no mistaking it now: the Trump administration will not be imposing a nationwide mandate, but will instead leave the decision about whether masks should be required to state and local leaders — just as it should be.