Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday night that he would not have the authority to mandate masks nationwide if elected president, but said that he would enforce a mandate on “federal property.”
Biden’s comment came during a CNN town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and departed from his previous statements saying that he would issue a nationwide mask mandate if elected president, The New York Times reported.
“I cannot mandate wearing masks,” but “I can do that on federal property,” he said. “As president, I will do that. On federal land, I would have the authority, If you’re on federal land, you must wear a mask. And we could have a fine for them not doing it.”
Earlier this week, he told reporters that he thought that he would have the authority to issue a mask mandate “based upon the degree to which there’s a crisis in those states, and how bad things are for the country and if we don’t do it, what happens.” (RELATED: Kamala Harris Shies Away From National Mask Mandate)
Biden originally called for a nationwide mask mandate in August, asserting that Americans should wear one at all times when outside for a three-month period at minimum. President Donald Trump has resisted a nationwide mask mandate, saying that one would intrude on Americans’ individual freedoms.
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