The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the U.S. won’t be able to contain COVID-19 as new cases continue to hit record highs.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.” When asked why the U.S. can’t attempt to curb the virus, Meadows said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Instead, Meadows said that “what we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this."
Tapper: "Why not make efforts to contain it?"
Meadows: "We are making efforts to contain it."
Tapper: "By running all over the country not wearing a mask?"
Meadows: "What we need to do is make sure we have the proper mitigation factors... make sure people don't die from this"
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 25, 2020
Meadows’ remarks fall in line with the Trump administration’s lack of a plan for containing the virus, like say, implementing national guidelines to control the infection rate. Over 224,000 Americans have died since the pandemic’s outset, with health officials encouraging the public to continue wearing masks, as they could save almost 130,000 lives in the coming months.
During his CNN interview, which was received online with a combination of shock and outrage, Meadows also defended the large campaign rallies that Trump has continued to host as the election nears, where masks and social distancing measures aren’t enforced. “We live in a free society,” Meadows said after Tapper pushed him on the rallies.
The U.S. reported 83,757 new confirmed cases on Friday, eclipsing the previous daily record of 77,300 in mid-July. On Saturday, the country reported an additional 83,718 cases. As CNBC points out, research suggests that the U.S. could see over 500,000 total deaths by the end of February if states don’t intensify pandemic limitations.
Meadow's interview inspired a visceral action online and beyond, with Joe Biden slamming the Trump administration for its failure to safeguard the U.S. “Mark Meadows stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they've given up on their basic duty to protect the American people," the former vice president said in a statement.
“This wasn't a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump's strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn't, and it won't.”
— Hanna Trudo (@HCTrudo) October 25, 2020
Biden wasn't the only one who chimed in. Check out reactions to Meadows' interview below.
Meadows admitted it: They surrendered. They capitulated.
The White House might have surrendered. But Americans haven’t.
In NY, we proved that we CAN control this virus.
And that’s what we’ll keep on fighting to do. Let’s keep it up.https://t.co/e5oQZyBaH6
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 25, 2020
This whole remarkable interview is Mark Meadows saying they've given up trying to do anything to control the virus because it makes the president look bad. Their plan is to let the country burn. https://t.co/Rl03qlaIX6
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) October 25, 2020
MARK MEADOWS: We're not going to control the pandemic.
THE REST OF THE WORLD: We've noticed.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) October 25, 2020
Imagine if when the virus first emerged we’d mobilized the industrial and lab capacity for national testing and tracing.
Just imagine. https://t.co/NIHj0JufMK
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) October 25, 2020
This is just infuriating.
Fuck these people. https://t.co/VkBcENdAra
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) October 25, 2020
My dad’s friend passed away from Covid last week. My wife is in an extremely high risk group. We don’t leave the house for fear of the unthinkable happening.
Hey Mark Meadows: fuck you. Please take that the wrong way. https://t.co/rt5neMyDEi
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) October 25, 2020
The WH is infected. Meadows says they’re not going to control it. Trump continues to lie and spread death all over the country. ENOUGH! FUCK HIM! VOTE HIM OUT!!
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) October 25, 2020
Sign up for the Complex Newsletter for breaking news, events, and unique stories.