President-elect Joe Biden will personally call on governors around the country to enact mask mandates in their states once taking office next year, NBC News first reported on Sunday.
A Biden campaign official told the network that governors who resist the incoming president’s requests will see Biden pressure mayors of cities in their respective states to enact mandates at the local level, potentially setting him up for confrontations with Republican governors around the U.S.
“If a governor declines, he’ll go to the mayors in the state and ask them to lead,” said the official, according to NBC. “In many states there is the capacity of mayors to institute mandates.”
The former vice president clashed with President Trump on the campaign trail over the issue of mask-wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reached more than 9 million confirmed cases in the U.S. as well as more than 230,000 deaths.
More than 20 states currently require masks to be worn in private businesses and public places according to an NPR tally, and Biden has called for more governors to enact such mandates for months as case numbers have exploded around the U.S. with the fall.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top member of the White House coronavirus task force, has also expressed support for a national mask mandate.