When Trump participated in a presidential town hall on Tuesday night, he attempted to blame Biden for the United States not having a national mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A swing voter said, “Wearing masks has proven to lessen the spread of COVID. Why don’t you support a mandate for national mask-wearing and why don’t you wear a mask more often?”
Trump quickly insisted that he does wear a mask when he has to and when visiting hospitals. Then, he took aim at Biden and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
“They said at the Democrat Convention… they’re going to do a national mandate, they never did it,” Trump explained to host George Stephanopoulos. “Because they’re checked out, they never did it.”
The President attempts to blame Joe Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate pic.twitter.com/nq9J6cVFoR
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 16, 2020
Biden quickly took to Twitter to remind Trump that he is currently the president of the United States as the former vice president urged his supporters to pitch in to his campaign to help him be elected.
As he shared the clip of Trump’s remarks, he tweeted, “To be clear: I am not currently president. But if you chip in now, we can change that in November.”
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020
Since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending the use of face coverings, Trump and Biden have expressed opposing views on the prioritization of masks.
While Biden has repeatedly stressed the importance of mask-wearing, Trump has pushed back. In August, Biden and Harris participated in a briefing with health experts in Wilmington, Delaware, where they called for a three-month national mask mandate.
“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,” Biden said, adding, “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.”
Trump, on the other hand, opposed calls for a federal mandate insisting the decision would be left up to the governors. The president also claimed people should still be allowed to have their freedom despite the ongoing pandemic.
“We will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cannot social distance, but we do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law-abiding Americans to accomplish this goal,” the president said in August.
He added, “Americans must have their freedoms, and I trust the American people.”
As of Wednesday morning, the United States has reported over 6.7 million positive coronavirus cases. Although total case numbers continue to rise and the death toll has topped 200,000, there is still no national mask mandate. The U.S. though has been on a downward trend in daily news cases since a surge in July.