President Donald Trump: Getty Images
13 August, 2020 by Ben Feuerherd
President Trump accused Joe Biden of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic at a White House briefing Thursday after the presumptive Democratic nominee called for a nationwide mask mandate.
Trump said Biden’s call for the mandate showed an “appalling lack of respect” for the American people and added the former vice president offered no guidance on how the federal government would enforce it.
“He does not identify what authority the president has to issue such a mandate or how federal law enforcement could enforce it,” Trump said.
Trump said that his administration has taken a different approach, delegating mask-wearing policies to state governments, while encouraging Americans to mask up.
“It’s up to the governors. We want to have a certain freedom,” 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? That’s why he refused, Biden, to take questions, he couldn’t answer any of them,” he added.
“My administration has a different approach, we have urged Americans to wear masks. This is a patriotic thing to do,” he added. “We do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law abiding Americans to accomplish this goal.”
“Sleepy Joe rejects the scientific approach in favor of locking all Americans in their basements for months on end,” the president quipped.
“He wants to shut down our economy, close our schools and grind society to a halt, and he wants it done by a federal decree.”
During a brief speech in Delaware earlier Thursday, Biden called for the mask mandate. He took no questions on specifics of his plan by reporters.
“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,” he said.
“Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up,” Biden said. “Do the right thing.”
Trump added that Biden wants to “fling open” American borders amid the pandemic, and accused him of putting “left-wing politics” ahead of scientific evidence.
“Joe Biden wants to fling open American borders, allowing the pandemic to infiltrate every US community based on his policies,” Trump said. “He wants to have ridiculous open borders.”