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Joe Biden calls for ‘nationwide mask mandate’ in video ad

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
August 17, 2020

In a new campaign ad released Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for a “nationwide mask mandate” to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s campaign ad begins with an attack on President Donald Trump, saying, “The virus: spreading out of control. The president: once again failing to act.” The ad goes on to say that Biden “knows we need to listen to medical experts” and says Biden favors “expanding testing” and “calling for mask mandates nationwide, starting immediately.”

The campaign ad also goes on to say Biden would favor producing more protective gear in the U.S.

“Fighting this virus and rebuilding our economy will take a president who is ready to lead,” the Biden ad concludes.

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Fox News reported Biden had called for the mask mandate at a campaign press event the day before releasing the campaign ad.

“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives,” Biden said. “The estimates are we will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done.”

Biden also said wearing a mask, “increases exponentially the prospect that if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, that you will not infect anyone if you cough, sneeze, sing, shout.”

States have individually called for mask mandates in the months since the coronavirus pandemic reached the U.S., but President Trump has made no nation-wide mask mandate.

Trump reacted to Biden’s call for a mask mandate during a Thursday White House press briefing.

Trump said, “He wants the President of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen, to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months — I guess this just happened; he thinks it’s good politics, I guess — no matter where they live and no matter their surroundings.”

Trump also questioned whether the president even has the ability to make such a mask mandate.

“[Biden] does not identify what authority the President has to issue such a mandate or how federal law enforcement could possibly enforce it or why we would be stepping on governors throughout our country, many of whom have done a very good job and they know what is needed,” Trump said.

“If the President has the unilateral power to order every single citizen to cover their face in nearly all instances, what other powers does he have?,” Trump continued. “That’s why he refused — Biden — to take questions.  He couldn’t answer any of them.  Couldn’t answer the questions.  He refuses to take questions.  He never takes questions. I take questions; he never takes questions.