President Donald Trump Thursday evening said that he wouldn’t advocate for a national mask mandate and is leaving it up to the states and citizens to wear facial coverings at their discretion to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. There’s “no need to bring the full weight of the federal government on law-abiding” citizens, he declared at his coronavirus press briefing on Thursday. “Stop playing politics with the virus,” Trump said. The comments from the president come after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday called for a national mask mandate to limit the spread of COVID-19, stepping up his rhetoric on the issue after criticizing Trump’s own stance earlier this summer. Biden wants to “mandate to law-abiding citizens to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask… He thinks this is good politics,” he said. Trump referred to a further call by Biden to increase social-distancing measures and enforce lockdowns as “unscientific” and regressive.” He claimed that the former vice president was trying to score politics points by encouraging tighter restrictions to address the spread of the novel strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. “We’ll defeat the virus but not by hiding in our basements,” Trump said, who referred to the disease as the “plague from China,” highlighting the apparent friction between the U.S. and China over Beijing’s handling of the disease that was first identified in Wuhan. Trump also suggested that Biden’s proposal for mask-wearing isn’t one that a U.S. president can unilaterally institute or enforce. He said instead of a broad rule he has “urged Americans to wear a mask and we have emphasized that this is a patriotic thing to do.”
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