- President Donald Trump called out former Vice President Joe Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate, though as Biden has no authority to do so.
- “They said ‘we’re going to do a national mandate on masks,'” Trump said Tuesday evening during an ABC News town hall. “But he didn’t do it, I mean, he never did it.”
- Biden has previously stated his support for universal mask-wearing, while Trump has shut down consideration of the idea.
- Trump defended his stance by claiming that “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks.”
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President Donald Trump criticized former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday for failing to enforce a national mask mandate — but Biden, as a candidate, has no authority to do so.
When asked by a voter during an ABC News town hall why he has not supported universal mask-wearing, Trump diverted to blame his 2020 Democratic opponent for having not done so.
“A good question is you ask, like Joe Biden, they said ‘we’re going to do a national mandate on masks,'” Trump said Tuesday evening. “But he didn’t do it, I mean, he never did it.”
“They said at the Democratic Convention they’re going to do a national mandate, they never did it because they checked out and they didn’t do it,” he said.
Trump was referring to a policy promise that Biden stressed last month as part of his plan to fight the pandemic if elected. Biden has since walked back on the idea from a federal level, citing potential constitutionality issues, and instead said he would encourage governors to do so and lead by example by wearing a face-covering publicly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has heavily recommended mask usage when in public and around people who don’t live in your household, as research shows that the face-covering offers protection to help prevent coronavirus transmission. The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has also pushed for universal mask-wearing.
Trump has long flip-flopped on his position toward masks, though in recent months began to heed the public health guidance and has been seen wearing a face-covering in public at times.
Still, he has repeatedly shut down consideration of a federal mandate, arguing in defense of people’s personal choice.
Trump reiterated his standpoint again on Tuesday evening, claiming that “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks.”
“Who are those people?” ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos pressed Trump.
“I’ll tell you who those people are — waiters,” Trump responded. “They come over and they serve you and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day where they were serving me, and they’re playing with the mask — I’m not blaming them, I’m just saying what happens — they’re playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it. And then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good.”
A majority of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — support regular mask-wearing and do so in their daily lives, according to recent public polling.