LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — I got an exclusive few minutes with the presumptive Democratic nominee on Tuesday, the day our economy took a big COVID-19 induced punch to the gut.
The Consumer Electronics Show bailed on Las Vegas thanks to unsafe conditions caused by the virus. CES says it will be back in 2022.
That's 171,000 people not coming next January and not spending millions of dollars to be here.
So I asked Joe Biden, over Zoom, about the pandemic. Do we need a national mask mandate, I asked him?
"I think we do. I think we need, look, there are some places where when the curve is going down, you can begin to loosen things, but we should have a mask mandate until we get this under control," Biden told me.
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“I’ve laid out three comprehensive plans since March on how to get this pandemic under control and effectively open the economy. Wear a mask, social distance, test, trace, protective gear,” Biden added.
The Trump campaign says the President moved quickly to stop the spread of the disease and has since worked with states to give them the tools to fight the virus. Critics like Biden say the response has been haphazard, missing strong federal leadership.
“Well, first of all, he’s been behind the curve from the beginning,” Biden told me, offering his assessment of the President’s actions.
The pandemic is one thing. Protests, sparked by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis, are another.
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Many have been peaceful, but others haven't.
The Trump campaign today sent out an email asking whether Biden condones the violence. I asked him.
"The vast majority of the protests have been peaceful. Anyone who burns or pillages...should be arrested. They are a problem for society and they make a mockery of what the march is all about. They should be tried, arrested and put in jail," he says.
There's also been the call to defund the police. What does Biden think of that?
"Absolutely not. I do not support and I never have. What I support is strong and serious reform of police departments which most serious police officers in the country support. And we should have transparency in what in fact occurs within police departments as it relates to accusations of brutality or violating peoples’ rights," Biden says.