Just who is the authoritarian running for president? Trump or Biden?
Joe Biden said earlier this month that as president, he would order a national mask mandate imposed from Washington. The proposal generated a lot of opposition so Biden backtracked and said he didn’t know if he had that authority.
Now, after talking it over with legal experts, Biden believes he can override the individual state decisions not to mandate wearing a mask and impose the order on any state he wants to.
Speaking to reporters in Delaware on Wednesday, Biden said that he had spoken to his campaign’s legal team about the feasibility of imposing such a mandate in certain states, depending on the conditions in the U.S.
“Our legal team thinks I can do that, based upon the degree to which there’s a crisis in those states, and how bad things are for the country,” Biden said. If it were deemed legal, he said would sign an executive order requiring people to wear masks when in public.
Earlier, Biden said he would “pressure” governors and local officials to impose a mask mandate because there was a constitutional question whether he had the authority to bypass state laws and order mask wearing for all. He is framing the issue as this generation’s “sacrifice” and “patriotic” duty.
“Why do you wear a mask? To protect your neighbor? To keep someone else from getting sick and maybe dying. I call that patriotic. This is the United States of America. Every generation has made sacrifices to help others in moments of crisis,” Biden said at the time.
Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, called for ain August.
Indeed, a president who claims a “national emergency” for any order is likely to be upheld in court. But rates of infection have been steady for weeks and the number of deaths continues to trend downward. It will be hard for Biden to realistically claim the power to order a mask mandate when the need for one is disappearing. In fact, legal challenges to any such mandate will go on long after the coronavirus threat has passed.
But it’s clear that Biden believes he can prorogue state legislatures and rip up the orders of elected governors in the name of forcing everyone to wear a mask while outside. So you got your executive order, Joe. How you gonna enforce it?
While the vice presidential hopeful stood by the 2020 Democrat when he announced his call for a national mandate, saying it would be one of their administration’s first orders of business, she walked back how enforceable the effort would be in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show in late August.
“It’s a standard. I mean, nobody’s going to be punished,” she said when she was asked how the order would be enforced.
“Nobody likes to wear a mask, this is a universal feeling, right? So, that’s not the point,” the California Democrat added.
“The point is this is what we as responsible people who love our neighbor, we have to just do that right now. God willing, it won’t be forever.”
“Nobody’s is going to be punished”? That’s a relief. But how are we going to save 40,000 lives in the next three months if everyone — I mean everyone — isn’t wearing a mask? If just 10 percent of people refuse to wear a mask, the entire strategy is blown up.
There are going to be penalties, no matter what Harris says. And they will get progressively more severe as the coronavirus stubbornly refuses to go away.
A bigger question is what else will Biden order in the name of a “public health emergency” that tramples on the Constitution and our federal republic?
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