Kamala Harris: National Mask Mandate A Top Priority If Elected

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 20: Senator Kamala Harris speaks at META - Convened by BET Networks at The Edition Hotel on February 20, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show on Friday, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris asserted that one of the first actions she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would take if elected would be to implement a national mandate to wear masks.
Today’s Craig Melvin queried, “You talked about the national mask mandate. It sounds like that would be one of the first orders of business.”Harris answered, “Yes.”
Melvin then asked, “How would you enforce that?”
Harris elaborated, “It’s really—it’s a standard. I mean, nobody’s going to be punished. C’mon. Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling, right? So that’s not the point. ‘Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.’ No. 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. But this is a sacrifice we have to make.”
On August 13, Biden called for an immediate national mask mandate, saying, “I hope we learned a lesson. Hope the president has learned the lesson. But again, this is not about Democrat, Republican, or independent. This is about saving Americans’ lives. So 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,” as the New York Post reported.
“Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up,” he continued. “Do the right thing. There’s overwhelming evidence, overwhelming evidence, that the mask and depending on the type of mask you wear, increases exponentially the prospect that you, if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, you will not affect anyone when you cough, sneeze, sing, shout.”
President Trump responded at a White House briefing, saying “Americans must have their freedoms”:
We have urged Americans to wear masks and I emphasized this is a patriotic thing to do. Maybe they’re great and maybe they’re just good. Maybe they’re not so good, but frankly, what do you have to lose? You have nothing to lose … And we’ve been saying wear them when it’s appropriate, especially in terms of social distancing. If you can’t distance enough, and what do you have to lose? But again, it’s up to the governors, and we want to have a certain freedom, we want to have a certain freedom. That’s what we’re about.
At the same time, we also understand that each state is different and is facing unique circumstances. You have very, very different states facing very unique differences and circumstances. We’ve entrusted the governors of each state, elected by the people, to develop and enforce their own mask policies and other policies following guidance from the federal government and CDC.
We’re working with each state to implement a plan based on the facts and science. We will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cannot socially distance, but we do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law-abiding Americans to accomplish this goal. Americans must have their freedoms, and I trust the American people and their governors very much.

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