Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared to shift his answer on the issue of a federal mask mandate for the fourth time in a matter of weeks, and the second time in two days, during a CNN town hall on Thursday in which he said he would not have the authority as president to mandate people wear face masks in public.
Biden was also asked how he would ensure a consistent message on the pandemic by a person who said the White House’s coronavirus messaging was “all over the place since February.” But Biden responded with what appeared to be a change in his stance on the mask mandate issue from an answer he gave at a campaign event just the previous day.
“What presidents say matter,” Biden said. “People listen. I will make it clear what is needed to be done. I cannot mandate people wearing masks but we’ve just been told … we should expect another 215,000 dead by January. But if we wear a mask we save 100,000 of those lives, doing nothing but that.”