Harris Mask Mandate Would Reinforce What ‘Responsible People’ Should Do
WASHINGTON – Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said Friday that a nationwide mask mandate she and running mate Joe Biden have called for would simply reinforce the behavior of “responsible people who love our neighbors.”
“We have to just do that right now,” Harris said in her first televised interview since the close of this week’s Republican National Convention.
Both Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and they’ve stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events.
Both have maintained that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save tens of thousands of lives in just a three-month period.
At the same time, Biden has conceded that a national mandate might be difficult to enforce at the federal level. As an alternative, he’s called on the nation’s governors to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.
Speaking on NBC’s “Today” program Friday morning, Harris laughed off a suggestion that the mandate would include punishment for not wearing a mask, describing the proposal as a “standard” rather than a rule.
“God willing,” she said, the need to wear a mask, “won’t be forever.”
“Nobody likes to wear a mask,” Harris added. “But that’s not the point.”
President Donald Trump opposes a national requirement that people wear face masks and personally declined to do so for months.
More recently, he’s occasionally worn a mask, but neither he nor many of the 1,500 attendees wore them as they gathered on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday night to hear him accept the Republican nomination for re-election.
Masks were not required at the event and the crowd violated District of Columbia guidelines prohibiting large gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 180,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, more than any other country.