The U.S. Surgeon General has made the extraordinary claim that federal troops would be needed if a federal mask mandate were introduced. He made the claim while urging people to wear masks.
Jerome Adams spoke to Fox News on Monday and literally begged Americans to wear face coverings. But he then said he wasn’t in favor of a nationwide mandate because of the difficulties of enforcement.
“I would rather help people understand why they should cooperate with wearing a mask and how they benefit from it versus simply saying we are going to force you to do it particularly sending in federal troops and using federal mechanism,” he said.
Watch the video:
On Fox & Friends, the Surgeon General advocates for mask wearing but stops short of calling for a federal mandate, because that would require a "federal enforcement mechanism" that could look like Portland, OR. pic.twitter.com/ktGHa6RmOf
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) July 20, 2020
Despite his position on federal enforcement, Adams pleaded with the Fox News audience to wear masks. He tried to explain that this was not a violation of their freedoms.
“That’s why I’m pleading with your viewers, I’m begging you, please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering,” he said.
“We are not trying to take away your ability to go out when we say keep restaurant capacity under 50 percent,” the Surgeon General went on.
“We are saying if we do these things, we can actually open and stay open. We can get back to school, to worship, to jobs. We can do this.”
President Donald Trump took a different view during an interview on the same network on Sunday. He suggested that masks could actually do harm and wouldn’t commit to mandating them.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media