Fox News' Chris Wallace told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar twice Sunday to refer to Joe Biden as the "president-elect" rather than as "vice-president" while the two were discussing the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The first instance occurred when the "Fox News Sunday" anchor interrupted Azar when the secretary was answering a question comparing Biden's push for masks.
"If President (Donald) Trump had worn a mask then and urged everyone to wear a mask then, back in April, the way Joe Biden is right now, wouldn't we be in better shape?" Wallace asked Azar.
"Well, Chris, I welcome Vice President Biden to the club. Since the middle of April, the president's guidelines have called for …," Azar started.
Wallace interjected: "He's the president-elect."
Technically, Biden is not the president-elect until the Electoral College certifies him as such on Dec. 14. The Trump campaign is still waging a serious legal contest over whether the former vice president won the election.
“The president has called masks patriotic acts," Azar continued. "Every one of his top advisors says, wear your mask. We talk about the data. At one meter, if two people whether masks, it can reduce viral transmission by 72%, protecting both the source and the recipient. We’ve got the data, masks work. We encourage people, please wear a mask when you can’t engage in social distancing.”
Wallace then again corrected Azar, telling him that "first of all, it's President-Elect Joe Biden.
"Secondly, the fact is the president set on the first day, April 30, that he wasn’t going to wear a mask," Wallace said. "He didn’t wear a mask in public for three months until July, and just last night at that rally in Georgia, not only didn’t he wear a mask, but I was watching the rally, thousands of people packed together, none I could see wearing a mask.”
Azar said the advice from the administration remains the same, meaning that people should wash their hands, watch their distance, wear face coverings when they are near other people, and be careful concerning settings such as crowded indoor bars and restaurants and multi-family gatherings "where you're going to let your guard down and take the face covering off."
"Regardless of whether the president ignores it or not?" Wallace argued.
"Regardless of the setting, our advice remains the same and the president has called mask wearing patriotic," said Azar. "We encourage people to wear face coverings when they can't maintain their physical distance."
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