Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told a reporter this week he would not hesitate to shut down the entire country upon advice from scientists to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Sitting alongside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Biden told ABC News anchor David Muir on Friday he would be willing to authorize a nationwide lockdown.
Muir asked Biden whether, if he is inaugurated in January and faced with a dual crisis of influenza and the coronavirus, he would “be prepared to shut this country down again.”
“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives, because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said in the interview, which is set to air in full Sunday night on ABC.
“I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”
Joe Biden tells @DavidMuir in an exclusive interview that as president, he would shut the country down to stop the spread of COVID-19 if the move was recommended by scientists. https://t.co/2A9r07d7EC pic.twitter.com/Ib99cshlSI
— ABC News (@ABC) August 21, 2020
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“That is the fundamental flaw of [the Trump] administration’s thinking to begin with,” he added.
Muri asked: “So if the scientists say, ‘Shut it down?’”
“I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists,” the former vice president replied.
Do you think the president actually has the authority to shut down the country?
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It is not clear where Biden would get the authority to declare a nationwide lockdown, but it is generally understood that the president does not have the power to make decisions for private businesses in individual states, as the establishment media pointed out in April when President Donald Trump hinted he would order some states to reopen.
As NPR reported in a “fact check” of the president, the executive branch does not have the authority to tell states what to do when it comes to decisions regarding health and business closures.
Biden’s comments came days after he sparked controversy by calling for every governor in the nation to mandate that citizens wear masks when they are outdoors.
His remarks about instituting a nationwide lockdown have received significant criticism as well:
I made the mistake of believing that a “Joe Biden” WH would mean a sudden, miraculous end to our COVID-19 pandemic. His comments today refute that. He wants to shut down the USA & send us into economic ruin. His policy proposal represents an immediate threat to our livelihoods.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) August 21, 2020
Joe is not a “nice guy.” Maybe he used to be, but he isn’t now. Whenever confronted on the campaign trail before the coronavirus lockdown, Biden would get angry with voters. Even telling a Detroit auto worker he was “full of sh*t” because he asked about the Second Amendment.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) August 19, 2020
Remember, when Joe Biden talks about about another full scale lockdown (Which would destroy thousands of small businesses and millions of jobs) or a nationwide OUTDOOR mask mandate, he’s talking about implementing those things when he’s inaugurated in JANUARY 2021.
Truly scary. https://t.co/H8H5Xclqif
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) August 21, 2020
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh pointed out that such a lockdown could cause an economic collapse, as well as its own health issues.
“The economy has taken off like a rocket ship, yet Biden is critical of job losses inflicted by the Covid lockdown,” Murtaugh tweeted.
“But now he says he’d shut the country down again for the virus. Under Biden, the economy would collapse and cause its own health problems.”
The economy has taken off like a rocket ship, yet Biden is critical of job losses inflicted by the Covid lockdown.
But now he says he’d shut the country down again for the virus.
Under Biden, the economy would collapse and cause its own health problems.https://t.co/87UmjsCjf6
— Tim Murtaugh – Download the Trump 2020 app today! (@TimMurtaugh) August 22, 2020
A number of reports have shown that the country’s initial shutdowns led to a decline in routine doctor visits and other preventive health measures.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have taken note of a rise in suicidal ideation, mental health problems and substance abuse amid the pandemic.
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