“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.
“I’d make the case why it’s necessary,” Biden said. “I’d have the scientists arrayed to lay out in detail why. And I would go to every governor and I’d go to governors relating — Republican and Democratic governors and I’d say we have to have this national mandate. We must do it.”
QUESTION: Thanks Mr. Vice President. You mentioned the CDC director’s comments this morning about the vaccine and how — I’m sorry about masks and how critical they are. You’ve previously called for a mask mandate — a national mask mandate. If you were elected what steps would you take to put that in place? And how would that work?
BIDEN: Well first of all I found it fascinating the president said and Biden didn’t put in a mask mandate. I don’t know how old he–can–but–I’m not the president. He’s the president. It’s like– you know –Biden’s problems in these cities are inflamed. I’m not the president. He’s the president. I would make –I would call all the governors to the White House and say — and because there’s a question I think it’s an– can be answered in the positive. A question whether I can mandate over state lines that every single state has to comply.
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. And if we don’t do it what happens. But I would make the case — I’d make the case why it’s necessary. I’d have the scientists arrayed to lay out in detail why. And I would go to every governor and I’d go to governors relating–Republican and Democratic governors and I’d say we have to have this national mandate. We must do it.
And at a minimum what I would do–I wouldn’t walk around saying masks don’t matter like he said at your town hall I think it was last night. I saw the tail end of it. That well–you know–you know–masks–you know–people don’t mask–don’t like masks. Matt–matter of fact they could be worse. And I think–don’t hold me to this because I didn’t see it I just saw it reported. And they–and Stephanopolous asked why. And he said because waiters don’t like them. Waiters touch the food and touch the mask. I mean come on.
QUESTION: But what would happen if say a Republican governor pushed back on you on this? How do you get buy in when it’s become so politicized? Would you sign an executive order?
BIDEN: Well the question is whether I have the legal authority as president to sign an executive order. We think we do but I don’t — I can’t guarantee you that yet. Okay?
QUESTION: But if you did you would?
BIDEN: If I did I would.