Joe Biden: ‘I Am a Constitutionalist’

By CNSNews.com Staff | September 2, 2020 | 4:51pm EDT
(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Vice President Joe Biden said at a press briefing in Wilmington, Del., today that he would use the bully pulpit of the presidency to persuade Americans and their community leaders to wear masks but would not order them to do so because there’s a question whether the president has that constitutional power and he sees himself as “a constitutionalist.”

A reporter asked Biden: “You had suggested there would be some sort of federal mandate about masks and now you’re saying you would encourage people?”

“No, no. Here’s what I suggested was: I would ask every person in authority,” Biden responded.

“There’s a question whether or not a president, under the Constitution, could mandate everyone to wear a mask,” Biden said. “And remember all during the primary I would have a lot of people telling me, I would by executive order do—I am a constitutionalist.

“You know, you can’t do things the Constitution does not allow you the power to do,” Biden said.

“What I’d be doing,” Biden said, “is putting as much pressure as I could on every governor, every senator, I mean excuse me, every mayor, every county executive, every local official, and everyone in business, putting pressure on them, to say: What you’re doing is irresponsible. Make sure you wear a mask and maintain social distancing. And the vast majority of the American people accept that notion.”

Here is a transcript of the exchange former Vice President Joe Biden had with a reporter about whether he would issue a mask mandate:

Reporter: “But, sir, you don’t see, you had suggested there would be some sort of federal mandate about masks and now you’re saying you would encourage people?”

Joe Biden: “No, no. No, no. Here’s what I suggested was: I would ask every person in authority. There’s a question whether or not a president, under the Constitution, could mandate everyone to wear a mask. And remember all during the primary I would have a lot of people telling me, I would by executive order do—I am a constitutionalist. You know, you can’t do things the Constitution does not allow you the power to do. What I’d be doing is putting as much pressure as I could on every governor, every senator, I mean excuse me, every mayor, every county executive, every local official, and everyone in business, putting pressure on them, to say:  What you’re doing is irresponsible. Make sure you wear a mask and maintain social distancing. And the vast majority of the American people accept that notion.” 

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