In a Wednesday press conference with a pre-approved list of reporters, former Vice President Joe Biden changed the Democratic ticket’s stance on a national mask mandate, again.
Biden originally called for a nationwide mask mandate in August:
“... this is not about Democrat, Republican or independent. This is about saving Americans’ lives,” Biden said. “So let’s just institute a mass mandate nationwide starting immediately. And we will save — the estimates are that we will save 40,000 lives in the next three months once that is done.”
The former vice president’s unserious idea was then called out for being unconstitutional, forcing Biden and Harris to walk back their promise to implement such a mandate. Instead, the pair promised to “encourage” mask wearing, acknowledging the constitutional issue at hand.
Today, Biden walked back his acknowledgement of the obvious constitutional issue, claiming that his legal team believes he would have the authority to implement the mandate as president. He promised to sign an executive order if that is the case:
! Biden now thinks prez has authority for mask mandate.— Emily Larsen (@emilyelarsen) September 16, 2020
“There’s a question – I think it can be answered in the positive – a question whether I can mandate over state lines and every single state has to comply. Our legal team thinks I can do that.” Says he'd sign an exec order.
Joe Biden says his legal team believes he, as president, would have the authority to institute a national mask mandate. But he says it’s uncertain, so he would also call all governors to the White House and make the case that they need to mandate their residents wear masks.— Matt Viser (@mviser) September 16, 2020
Biden called for a national mask mandate in August.— America Rising (@AmericaRising) September 16, 2020
Then Harris walked it back.
Today, Biden says he would impose a national mask mandate.
Which is it? pic.twitter.com/TozR7xVtVM
Biden's stance on the implementation of a nationwide mask mandate remains unclear.