WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a Thursday television interview he would require wearing face masks in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Asked by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA what he would do to help halt the surge in coronavirus cases, Biden said he would “go back to making sure that everyone had masks.”
“The one thing we do know — these masks make a gigantic difference,” Biden said. “I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask.”
When asked if he would use federal powers to require the wearing of masks, Biden said, “Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, yes I would.”
“I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public,” he added.
Biden and Trump have struck different tones on face masks while coronavirus case counts continue to rise and the United States reaches new records for daily cases.
Trump called masks a “double-edged sword” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week and has retweeted posts making fun of Biden for wearing one.
The president has held large rallies over the past week in which thousands of people filled indoor venues, many of whom did not wear face masks. Biden told KDKA he would not hold indoor rallies like Trump unless he could be sure the virus were under control or a vaccine were available.
The former vice president also encouraged mask-wearing during his remarks in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, where he slammed Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to have to wear masks. And I know as Americans it’s not something we’re used to. But it matters,” he said.