In the wake of this week’s bombshell revelation that President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, politicians and pundits have speculated about the impact it could have on the rapidly approaching presidential election.
For his part, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is calling for a nationwide mask mandate, a position about which he has already come down on both sides, as reported by Breitbart.
“Tonight is an example”
The issue of wearing face masks in public had already become a largely partisan issue, with Trump jabbing his opponent during this week’s presidential debate for fervently covering his face.
“I think masks are OK,” the president said in response to a question from moderator Chris Wallace. “I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight is an example, everybody has had a test. I wear a mask when needed. When needed, I wear masks.”
Contrasting his behavior with that of the former vice president, Trump asserted that Biden “could be speaking 200 feet away” and still cover his face.
“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.”
The Democratic nominee is apparently willing to force all other Americans to similarly mask up, though his rhetoric is admitted challenging to follow. Biden’s latest remarks on the issue came during a campaign stop in Michigan on Friday.
“We have to do our part”
“This is not a matter of politics,” a masked Biden told reporters and supporters in the small crowd. “We have to do our part to be responsible. It means following the science, listening to the experts, washing our hands, social distancing.”
He went on to prescribe “wearing a mask in public and encouraging others to do so as well,” clarifying that it “means have masking mandates nationwide.”
Early on in the pandemic, Biden signaled support for a federal mask mandate, though he later walked back those remarks out of apparent concern over the constitutionality of such an order.
“I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate,” he said in a statement last month. Instead, he endorsed a policy of strongly encouraging state and local officials to take the necessary steps.
Of course, as his most recent remarks reveal, his true intentions regarding masks — not to mention a range of other important issues — are anything but clear with just weeks left until Election Day.