Another Sunday, another head-scratching parade of Donald Trump lackeys on the Sunday shows. Today, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to talk with host Jake Tapper about the novel coronavirus pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the two discussed Mike Pence’s choice to continue campaigning even though a number of his aides reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Though Pence reportedly tested negative for the virus, his decision not to self-quarantine is obviously concerning. To counter this, Meadows went as far as to argue that Pence is exempt from basic public health guidelines because he is “essential personnel.”
The flu, national quarantines, and large-scale inability to control the spread of the virus all made appearances in this heated back and forth. Let’s check out the clip and heated exchange below.
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Here is that clip, which opens with Tapper patiently pointing out that the “pandemic is out of control.”
Meadows stated what’s been obvious to those outside of the Trump regime for months, though he probably didn’t intend for the meaning to come across the way it did: "We are not going to control the pandemic.” Yes, the general public at this point knows that the Trump administration is doing as little as possible to control the pandemic that’s taken more than 200,000 American lives and more than a million worldwide. He continued: “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas—"
Tapper interjected here, asking the obvious question that we’ve been wondering since last winter: "Why not get control of the pandemic?”
Meadows, unable to resist the flu comparison, said, "Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu."
"Yeah, but why not make efforts to contain it?” Tapper asked, ever beholden to a logic that the Trump administration resists.
Meadows then claims, "Well we are making efforts to contain it."
And, unsurprisingly, Tapper calls out Pence, asking, "By running all over the country and not wearing a mask?” He got direct enough to even say: “That's what vice president is doing."
"Let me just say this,” Meadows stated. “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.” Then he brought up the right-wing hysteria talking point of a nationwide quarantine which has not actually been suggested, and as my colleague, Hunter broke down months ago, is unlikely to actually happen anyway. Meadows said: “But to suggest that we are going to actually quarantine all of America..."
And Tapper cut him off, pointing out, "No one's saying that."
Meadows continued a bit, saying, “Joe Biden’s saying that. He says, lock everybody down. We’re gonna have a dark winter. We’re gonna have a dark winter.”
“That’s what health officials say,” Tapper countered. “It’s gonna get worse.”
“No, no, no,” Meadows said. “That’s Joe Biden’s.”
Given that our coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, a “dark winter” certainly seems more likely than a magic snap of the fingers to curtail a literal global pandemic. After all, on Saturday, the nation reported the second-highest day of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic started months ago.
On the topic of the vice president, Meadows said he spoke to Pence late last night and that in terms of campaigning, Pence “is wearing a mask, socially distancing and when he goes up to speak he will take the mask off and put it back on. He is wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that." Of course, we know Pence has appeared in public without a mask in the past amid the pandemic.