Rejecting Biden’s Threat of a Nationwide Mask Mandate, Trump Suddenly Respects Limits on Presidential Power
Democrats, who routinely complain about Donald Trump’s power grabs when they do not like the results, quickly change their tune when they see presidential orders as the easiest way to impose a nationwide policy they favor. Trump, meanwhile, never hesitates to assert authority he does not have, except when it comes to policies he opposes.
That utterly unprincipled approach to executive power is vividly illustrated by the debate between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden about face mask mandates, which yesterday led Trump to utter these words: “If the president has the unilateral power to order every single citizen to cover their face in nearly all instances, what other powers does he have?” This is the same man who last April asserted “total” authority over COVID-19 lockdowns, saying “the president of the United States calls the shots.”
Trump’s sudden respect for constitutional limits was inspired by Biden’s suggestion that as president he would require Americans to wear masks in public. “These masks make a gigantic difference,” he said in a June 25 interview with a local TV reporter in Pittsburgh. “I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask.” When asked if he would “use your federal leverage to mandate that,” Biden replied: “Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, I would….I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
At a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, yesterday, Biden reiterated his support for face mask mandates. “Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing,” he said. “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
This time around, Biden did not mention the possibility of a presidential order. But in comments to reporters yesterday evening, Trump argued that there is no legal basis for such a mandate.
“He wants the president of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen, to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months…no m
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