Joe Biden plans to urge Americans to mask up for 100 days when he takes office and said he’s asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay on in his administration — plowing ahead with his transition as President Trump suffered another legal blow at the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Biden said during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday that he would make his request of the public on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
“I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask. Not forever, just 100 days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction” in the spread of the virus, Biden said.
Biden has previously spoken of a national mask mandate to help curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus that has killed 275,000 Americans and infected more than 14 million.
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“It is important that we, in fact, as the president and the vice president, we set the pattern by wearing masks,” Biden said, in contrast to Trump, who has eschewed wearing face coverings throughout the pandemic.
And Biden said he would look to issue a “standing order” that in federal buildings and on interstate transportation “you must be masked.”
The president-elect also said he had asked Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to remain in the role he’s held in several administrations and to serve as his chief medical adviser.
“I asked him to stay on in 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, adding that he’d spoken with Fauci earlier in the day.
Biden said that once a vaccine is approved — which could come as soon as next week in the United States — “we have to make it clear to the American people that the vaccine is safe.”
Asked by Tapper about the possibility of pre-emptive pardons by Trump, Biden said it “concerns” him in terms of “what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks at us.”
Trump suffered a setback in his challenges to the election results Thursday, even as his campaign and the Republican National Committee announced they had raised a staggering $207.5 million since Election Day in a fundraising push that has focused on “election defense” even as the money has been split among several committees.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear Trump’s lawsuit that was to overturn his 20,700-vote loss to Biden, ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts before the state’s highest court can rule on its merits.
The court’s ruling was 4-3, with conservative justices dissenting. But two of those three didn’t seem to side with Trump on the merits of the case, questioning whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots, as Trump sought, would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.
Trump claimed malfeasance in two heavily Democratic counties, saying there were irregularities in the processing of absentee ballots.
Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in state circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”
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