“On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask—not forever, just 100 days,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said in an interview with CNN.
“Just 100 days to mask, not forever. One hundred days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction,” he added.
First 100 days of a presidency are important
The first 100 days of a presidency are important as this is when presidents usually signal what issues are important to them. For Biden, he views the situation as similar to 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected and faced the Great Depression.
When FDR was elected, he told the nation in his first inaugural address that “”the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” With this, he steeled a demoralized citizenry to hold firm amid a banking crisis that threatened to destroy an already battered economy.
“There was a fundamental change, not only taking place here in the United States, but around the world,” Biden said. “We’re in the middle of this fourth industrial revolution.”
In his interview, Biden is comparing the circumstances of the Great Depression with the current COVID-19 pandemic, portraying the latter as the most extreme domestic circumstance facing a president at the start of his term since Roosevelt.
But that wasn’t always the case. The U.S. economy was on a high for most of President Donald Trump’s term, only beginning to freefall earlier this year when states across the name implemented week- or even months-long lockdowns in a bid to slow the pandemic.
Trump eventually urged states to open back up, highlighting the secondary effects of these lockdowns such as job losses, failing grades for many students and even suicides.
Biden has gone back and forth on mask mandates, but clearly supports mask-wearing
Biden has criticized how the Trump administration has handled the pandemic, stating that an administration run by him would do better in fighting it. But Biden has waffled on his position on masks. Originally, the Democratic presidential nominee floated a national mask mandated but later backed away from it. (Related: Biden spins his proposed nationwide mask mandate, now calling it “guidance.”)
That seemed to have changed last month when he said he had discussed a national mask requirement with governors. But with his recent interview, he seems to have backed down and will simply “ask” Americans to wear masks.
That said, mask-wearing seems like it will be a vital component of Biden’s coronavirus response should he get elected. Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, said in November that stressing the wearing of masks will be a key component to a national strategy to fight the pandemic.
“When a person goes into a store and does not wear a mask, when they go to a public gathering and they’re not wearing a mask, they’re hurting everyone’s freedom,” Gawande said in an interview with ABC. “They are putting people in danger.”
Biden also confirmed to CNN that he’s asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay in his position as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases should he win. Fauci has been criticized by President Trump some of the latter’s critics believe that he’s considered firing the former.
“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said.
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