Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden is back to calling for a nationwide mask mandate despite previously admitting that the Constitution would prevent him from enforcing it.
Speaking to WISN-ABC on Tuesday, Biden criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the Chinese coronavirus.
“Take responsibility. This president says it’s not his responsibility. The federal government’s role is [to] have a national response to tackle this national pandemic. But Donald Trump took no responsibility, failed and continues to fail to do that,” Biden said, accusing Trump of “downplaying” the virus and not having a plan.
“I put my plan out in March. You can read it all online, go to JoeBiden.com and it starts with a mask mandate nationwide,” Biden told the outlet:
Biden has continually flip-flopped on promoting a nationwide mask mandate as a federal response to the Chinese coronavirus, calling for a nationwide mask mandate on several occasions over recent months. In June, when asked about using federal leverage to issue the mandate, Biden said, “Yes, I would from an executive standpoint, yes, I would.”
However, he backtracked in September, proclaiming himself as a Constitutionalist and adding, “You can’t do things the Constitution doesn’t allow you the power to do.” Days later, he told Arizona’s CBS 5 that there is a “constitutional issue whether the federal government can issue such a mandate.”
“I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate,” he said:
Biden now says a national mask mandate is probably unconstitutional and he wouldn’t do it.
This is a full 180-degree reversal. pic.twitter.com/cSxo6Q5LCD
— Alex Marlow (@AlexMarlow) September 7, 2020
Days later, at CNN’s town hall, Biden concluded that he would have the authority to implement a mask mandate and enforce it on federal land but added, “I cannot mandate people wearing masks. … I would call every governor in the country into the White House, say, you should be putting mandates out.”
Despite that, in an October 7 tweet, Biden declared that he would, as president, “implement nationwide mask mandates”:
As president, I will:
– Implement nationwide mask mandates
– Ensure access to regular, reliable, and free testing
– Accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines
I won’t waste any time getting this virus under control.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 7, 2020
Despite repeatedly emphasizing the importance of wearing masks, Biden has been caught without one himself on the campaign trail. Earlier this month, the former vice president lowered his mask and coughed into his hand during a stump speech in Las Vegas:
You can't make this up.
Joe Biden just removed his mask to cough in his hand.
Talk about unsanitary! pic.twitter.com/4rwJvHA3LS
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 9, 2020
During last week’s ABC News town hall event in Philadelphia, Biden also signaled that he remained open to mandating a coronavirus vaccine.
“It depends on the state of the nature of the vaccine when it comes out and how it’s being distributed,” Biden said, adding, “But I think that we should be talking about, depending on the continuation of the spread of the virus, we should be thinking about making it mandatory.”