LANCASTER, PA — Former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden confirmed he would use federal power in order to force people to wear masks in public.
During an interview on Thursday with reporter Ken Rice of Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, Biden fumbled with his own face covering.
Rice asked Biden:
“I know you have been critical of the president’s handling of the pandemic in the past. But let’s look ahead. If you became president tomorrow, what would you do differently regarding the pandemic and getting these surging cases now under control?”
“I would go back to making sure that everybody had masks, that you had PPE [personal protective equipment] lined up, we’d have been making sure we stockpile all the things that we need that we don’t have now. The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference.
— Jon Cooper ?? (@joncoopertweets) June 26, 2020
“I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen — would have to make sure that they walked in their business that had masks.”
Rice then asked if Biden could use the federal leverage to mandate the mask use, and if he would, to which Biden replied:
“Yes, I would from an executive standpoint, yes, I would.”
In clarification, Rice said:
“So you would, in effect, mandate the wearing of masks.”
To which Biden replied:
“I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
It wasn’t addressed during the interview what law enforcement entity he would use, if any, to ensure cooperation in mask use by the public.
During the interview, Biden’s own mask kept slipping down, and he pulled it up several times. This is not the first time he has had a mask malfunction.
At a previous roundtable discussion in Philadelphia on June 11, Biden discussed his eight-step plan for opening the U.S. economy safely during the pandemic. Five minutes into the discussion, Biden removed the mask and left it dangling on his left ear for several minutes before replacing it over his mouth. He removed it again a couple of minutes later, leaving it hanging on his left ear for over an hour.
WEAR YOUR MASK. https://t.co/ItPiaXzR3V
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) June 26, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing “cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.”
However, President Trump suggested that masks may be counterproductive in an interview last week with the Wall Street Journal.
In that interview, the President said:
“They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth and then they don’t know how they caught it?”
Fox 6 News indicated that using federal power to require Americans to wear face masks in public “would mark a significant intervention by the federal government and could see considerable pushback from states.”
It’s likely safe to change that “could” to “would,” given the amount of pushback states have already given their governors on orders seen as draconian in relation to mask wear.
Here’s just one of the many previous articles brought to you by Law Enforcement Today on mask use, the public outcry, and problems with their use.
On May 26th, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam stated that residents of the state will have to start donning masks in various places come May 29th.
This announcement followed after a selfie the governor took with a female friend at Virginia Beach over the holiday weekend showed that he wasn’t wearing a mask or social distancing, either.
— Bob Sikes (@BobSikes) May 26, 2020
It’s not exactly the best look when you’re telling people to wear masks in public and keep away from folks, while actively taking selfies and not adhering to the same advice. Northam spokesman Alena Yarmosky stated the following on May 24th about the selfie fiasco:
“He was outside yesterday and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone. This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change — we are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it’s important to be prepared.”
The infamous “new normal” phrase can never be missed when talking about the likes of the pandemic and face masks, as it has become a phrase as cliched as Phil Swift maniacally destroying things in a Flex Seal advertisement.
During a portion of the press conference pertaining to the adorning of face masks on May 26th, Northam said that he appreciated folks holding him “accountable” for his selfie-shenanigans:
“People held me accountable and I appreciate that.”
When residents of the state of Virginia decide to go grocery shopping, dining out, and riding aboard public transport, a face covering will be required. There are certain activities, like exercising outdoors, where wearing a mask will not be required. Also, children 9 years of age or younger will not be forced to wear masks either.
Some have been poking fun at Governor Northam’s rule pertaining to face masks, with jokes either aimed at his hypocritical selfie or managing to tie in his blackface snafu from his past.
Liberty University president Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr. was among those poking fun, noting on Twitter that he may craft a personalized face mask emblazoned with the governor’s infamous blackface photo from the 1980s:
“I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from [Governor Northam] requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!”
Scattered online through various comments sections regarding the governor’s mandates have been the likes of folks saying “do as I say, not as I do,” and other variations of that expression. Whether or not the governor intended to be flagrant in his actions is purely speculation, but as mentioned, it’s not exactly a good look.
With mandates such as the aforementioned, the enforcement will be coming from the state’s health department and not by police officers. How exactly that will flesh out is curious, to say the least, since there’s questions about what that enforcement will look like.
Virginia governor calls for mandatory face masks in public indoor spaces after not wearing one during weekend beach visit https://t.co/DPgygnyFOa
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 26, 2020
All that was really revealed is that the criminal courts are alleged to not be the route for infractions, according to Northam’s chief of staff Clark Mercer:
“The criminal code is not the place you want this enforced, there are tremendous equity issues with enforcing this that we’re cognizant of.”
The thoughts on forced masks are divided when seeing the response online, with a fair split of folks saying it’s a good idea and others saying it’s a bad idea. But the real question is, will it actually help in the long run?
Furthermore, the clamoring about face masks and the ilk are all said to stem from a position of ensuring public safety. Which begs the question of why dangerous criminals are being released from prison when the government is claiming they’re trying to keep people safe.
A series of recently granted paroles of those convicted of some of the most heinous crimes has sparked outrage within not only the community, but with the family members of the victims impacted by the released offenders’ crimes.
Sources imply that these recent releases are all attributed to the pandemic.
Gee, we feel so lucky to have Blackface, our screaming liberal governor "leading us".
Meet another lucky felon who’s about to be freed: Dwayne Markee Reid, 45. This Suffolk man was … https://t.co/WHOiRUNusR
— Jerry Williams (@JerryWms_II) May 1, 2020
Dwayne Markee Reid was one of the recent parolees released, who was responsible for the 1993 murder of Thomas Runyon.
The victim’s sisters, Kathy Ramage and Juanita Gillis, were both flabbergasted at the release of their brother’s killer.
Part of the shock was because they claimed to have never have been notified prior to his parole.
Gillis stated the following after learning about Reid’s release:
“I mean, good grief. What, they were never going to tell us and here we are thinking this killer is still in jail?”
Ramage mirrored that sentiment as well, stating the following:
“It made me livid. I was so upset. They didn’t even have the common courtesy to give any of my family members a call about his parole. We heard nothing.”
Ramage had found out about the release of her brother’s murderer by happening upon Reid’s newly acquired Facebook page:
“How do you like that? He got out of prison, and now he’s got a Facebook living [his] life like [he] did nothing.”
Reid, who was freed from prison on April 17th, wasn’t the only notable violent criminal who is now a free man.
Patrick Schooley Jr. robbed, abducted, raped and stabbed to death 78-year-old Bessie Roundtree inside of her home back in 1979 when he was 15-years-old.
Patrick Schooley Jr. abducted, robbed, raped and murdered a 78-year-old woman. He was sentenced to THREE life sentences. Virginia’s Parole Board just freed him. Something’s rotten in Richmond. #paroleboard #virginia #murder https://t.co/aMPx8uOvs5
— kerry dougherty (@kerrydougherty) May 4, 2020
Johnathan Brinkley is the grandson of Roundtree, who was about the same age as Schooley when he murdered his grandmother.
Also having never been contacted prior to Schooley’s release, he feels as though his grandmother’s killer should have never been set free:
“The way I see it, an eye for an eye. He should stay behind bars, and should stay there until he dies.”
Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson views these recent releases as “atrocious” acts:
“These are the most violent serious crimes in Virginia, and they are releasing them with no input from the commonwealth’s attorney and no input from the victim’s family.”
Tonya Chapman, who was the former Portsmouth Police Chief, recently was appointed as the chairwoman of the parole board in April.
Congratulations, Chief Tonya Chapman on being appointed Chair of the Virginia Parole Board. Keep pressing. pic.twitter.com/icXZF0Gx5r
— Marquise S. Hunt (@MarquiseHunt) March 20, 2020
While these releases transpired after her appointment to the board, she stated that she wasn’t involved in the decisions for release:
“Although, I didn’t assume the position as Chair of the Virginia Parole Board until April 16, 2020, it is my understanding that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the month of March and April, the Parole Board worked tirelessly to review all parole-eligible individuals and release those whose return to the community was compatible with the interests and welfare of society.”
While the ongoing COVID-19 fiasco seemingly had some influence in these releases, there are those who would argue that time served for the offenses was a significant factor in the consideration as well.
Shannon Ellis, who is an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, stated that the notion of criticizing those granted parole solely for their original crimes isn’t a fair take:
“I think you have to ask a lot more questions … including how long that person had served, whether that person under any credible assessment would be considered a danger to the public, to what degree does keeping a person incarcerated during a crisis like this could that be giving them a death sentence?”
Instances related to parole, and board decisions, aren’t exactly easy fights.
Typically, when a parole board has their mind set on a release (or denial), statements from either the victims, their families, or even the convict in question, can seem like a fruitless endeavor in swaying a decision.
However, in instances like these, it’s important to keep in mind that parole boards are appointed positions that stem from someone within an elected position.
In times like these, remember to vote wisely come next election cycle.
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