Democrats

Harris Walks Back Promise of Nationwide Mask Mandate

Biden in June: 'I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public'

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) walked back Joe Biden's call for a nationwide mask "mandate" on Friday, saying no one would be punished for violating it.

"It’s really—it's a standard. I mean, nobody’s going to be punished," Harris said on Today when asked how she would enforce the coronavirus measure. "Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling, right? So that’s not the point, ‘Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.' No…. God willing, it won't be for forever."

With no enforcement mechanism, it is unclear how that substantively differs from the Trump administration's call for citizens to wear masks while leaving it to individual states to implement mandates or not.

Biden has repeatedly called for a nationwide mask mandate. In June, he said he would use "federal leverage" to enforce such an order.

"From an executive standpoint, yes I would," he said. "I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public."