Unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden has no problem with protecting others by wearing a face mask. The presumptive Democratic nominee for the upcoming 2020 presidential election briefly strapped his face mask on during the May 21 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his first time doing so on late night television (but certainly not his first time wearing a mask in general). It was a symbolic move, since just hours before the show aired, Biden’s election rival took off his mask after touring a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., simply to spite reporters.
“I wear the mask all the time,” Biden, 77, revealed to Stephen Colbert during Thursday night’s interview. The former U.S. vice president clarified, “Well, not all the time. When anybody’s around, other than Jill [his wife]. Although sometimes she wants me to put the mask on so she can’t hear me speak.”
Colbert didn’t beat around the question viewers really wanted to hear, though: “Are you gonna beat this guy?” Of course, “this guy” meant Trump, to which Biden responded with a resolute “Yes” multiple times. “Look, I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ll tell you why. The American people fully understand what’s at stake here. This is the most important election in anybody’s life, not because I’m running, but because of the circumstances,” Biden explained.
— Robert Lyons (@RobertLyonsIA) May 22, 2020
It was a full circle moment to see Biden so confident. Five years ago, Barack Obama’s former second-in-command guest starred on Stephen’s show and couldn’t promise his “whole heart” if he were to run against Trump in the 2016 election. Biden had been grieving the recent death of his son Beau Biden, who had recently succumbed to a battle to brain cancer at just 46 years old.
This isn’t the first time Biden has advocated for masks. He directly called out Trump’s resistance towards the protective gear (which is recommended by the CDC itself, FYI), during a virtual town hall for Yahoo News on May 19. “I got my mask,” Biden said, who brought it out as proof. “I can’t walk outside my house [without wearing one] because the Secret Service is there. They’re all wearing their masks. They’re all getting tested. Come on.” While Trump has insisted he gets tested for the novel coronavirus every couple of days, more than one of his staff members at The White House have come down with the lethal COVID-19 disease.
OMG! He actually wore one. See, it didn’t hurt that much. Does it have the Presidential seal on it? pic.twitter.com/aNebLbKpuE
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) May 21, 2020
It was quite the surprise to see Trump wear a mask for the first time ever while speaking with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. amid his tour at the car plant in Michigan on May 21. Amid a worldwide pandemic, Trump has opted out of covering his face to tour a mask factory in Arizona on May 5 (which required workers to suit up with face masks) and for a White House event with Girl Scouts (who all had face masks on) on May 15. However, Trump refused to give reporters the “pleasure” of seeing him wear a face mask after the Ford plant tour, which led Michigan’s State Attorney General Dana Nessel to blast the POTUS as “a petulant child.”