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Biden Criticizes Trump on use of Masks, Calls for National Mask Mandate

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump about the latter’s not wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic reported Fox News.  The criticism came as the former vice president called for a nationwide federal mask mandate.

Biden made his comments during a virtual fundraiser with actor Tom Hanks.  “This appeal to this macho notion, ‘I’m not wearing a mask,’ this is just the most irrational, illogical and egotistical exercise I’ve ever seen a president enter into,” he said.  “We can’t go on like this like the president’s had us do, half recovering, half getting worse, half wearing masks, half denying science, half of a plan, half hoping for the best,” Biden continued.

Biden called for a national mandatory mask mandate to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing,” he said according to US News and World Report.  Biden continued, “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives… Protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do the right thing. It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.” Biden’s casual dismissal of personal rights of citizens during a crisis emphasizes a difference between Democratic and Republic governors across the country, with Democrats issuing more restrictive measures than Republicans, who have emphasized the need to protect individuals’ civil rights.  President Trump has deferred to governors of the individual states as to whether they want to implement a mask mandate.  

The use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 has not been universally agreed upon.  The World Health Organization earlier this year claimed that only those working directly with COVID-19 patients should be wearing masks, while the Centers for Disease Control recommended that everyone should be wearing masks.  President Trump weighed in on the controversy saying, “Everybody who is saying don’t wear a mask – all of sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know masks cause problems, too.  With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”

Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo also attacked the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.  “The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here. We saw the failure of a government that tried to deny the virus, then tried to ignore it, and then tried to politicize it,” he said. “The failed federal government that watched New York get ambushed by their negligence, and then watched New York suffer, but all through it learned nothing.”  Cuomo did not mention his executive order, delivered in late March, that forced nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients despite objections from nursing home employees.  Nursing home staff warned of the dangers of placing contagious patients in an environment with the most vulnerable part of the population.  By late July over 6,400 patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in New York had died.  That represented over a tenth of the nationwide total of such deaths, reported the New York Times.

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