Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP senator defends Trump by claiming mask mandate would have failed

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), one of President Trump's most loyal Senate allies, told "Axios on HBO" it was a sign of "respect" from the president to not push for nationwide face mask adoption.

Why it matters: Face masks are a key part of controlling the spread of coronavirus, and many state and local officials clashed over implementing mask mandates.

  • Back in September, CDC director Robert Redfield said masks may be even more effective than a vaccine in stopping the pandemic.

The bottom line: Cramer defended the president's position as rooted in a preference for freedom.

  • Cramer said that "Trump's default position is generally for individual responsibility and individual outcomes. And so while he's said, 'It's up to you,' that's a respect."
  • "Part of the freedom that he supports so strong are states' rights, federalism. Now you may not like how he talks about it, but he does talk about individual freedoms, and local control of things in a meaningful way that frankly draws a lot of the support."

The big picture: Cramer told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei in the "Axios on HBO" interview that he doubted a mandate would have stuck.

  • "I know there are a lotta people that, if he created a mask mandate, wouldn't have worn a mask."

The bottom line: Many Trump supporters follow the president's cue, and the president could have spent time pushing people to wear masks.

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