As the Biden campaign continues to elaborate on a potential first-term agenda, running mate Kamala Harris addressed the hot-button issue of mandating face mask use in public places.
According to the New York Post, Harris said she and presidential nominee Joe Biden would implement a nationwide mandate if elected in November.
“A sacrifice we have to make”
Her comments on the subject came on Friday during an interview on NBC’s Today.
While Harris said such a mandate would be among the first priorities of a Biden administration, she later acknowledged that she does not support enforcing the rule with serious penalties.
“It’s a standard,” she said. “I mean, nobody’s going to get punished.”
Nevertheless, the U.S. senator from California stressed that wearing a mask is a sacrifice all Americans should be willing to make for the greater good amid a continuing coronavirus pandemic.
“Nobody likes to wear a mask,” she said. “This is a universal feeling, right? … The point is this: What we, as responsible people who love our neighbor, we have to just do that right now. God willing, it won’t be forever. But this is a sacrifice we have to make.
“A believer in masks”
As for President Donald Trump, he has made it clear that he does not feel a nationwide mask mandate is warranted.
“Everybody who is saying don’t wear a mask — all of a sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know, masks cause problems, too,” he said during a Fox News Channel interview last month.
The president went on to say that he is “a believer in masks” and thinks they can be beneficial in limiting the spread of COVID-19, but added that he wants to “leave it up to the governors.”
Since certain states continue to see high levels of virus transmission and others do not, many Americans believe statewide and local mandates make more sense than a one-size-fits-all federal order. Nevertheless, Harris speaks for a wide range of Democratic leaders who have criticized Trump’s resistance to such a mandate.
Given her acknowledgment that enforcement of her proposed action would apparently be nonexistent, however, it appears the rhetoric amounts to little more than political posturing.