Former Vice President Joe Biden backed away Wednesday from a recent pledge to shut down the entire U.S. economy again if advised to do so by experts, saying that he did not actually believe that would be necessary.
Last month, as Breitbart News reported, Biden said:
“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden replied when asked by ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir if he would shut down the country if experts proposed the measure.
“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden, flanked by running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), said. “That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.”
Biden’s remarks come one day after the former vice president pledged to implement a national mask mandate during his Democrat National Convention nomination acceptance speech. Days earlier, Biden said all Americans should wear masks “outside.”
“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide,” he proposed. “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they are outside for the next three months at a minimum.”
In a rare press conference after a speech on school re-opening Wednesday, Biden was asked whether he would listen to the advice of economists as well as scientists.
A reporter asked what Biden would do “if you had economic advisers saying, ‘You do this again, you could plunge the country into an even deeper economic crisis’.”
The idea that you’re going to be able to get the economy back on track, without getting COVID under control, is completely counter-intuitive. It’s not there. It can’t happen. So unless we’re able to deal with the disease, and drastically cut its impact on people’s confidence of being able either to go to work or walk into a business or do business, then it doesn’t matter at all. There’s going to be no need, in my view, to be able shut down the whole economy. I got asked a question by David Muir a question, if I was asked to shut everything down. I took that as a generic question, if — am I going to follow the science.
Biden went on to say that his mask “mandate” was not really a mandate, but that he would put “pressure” on state and local officials to require people to wear masks.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.