White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that the country is “not going to control the pandemic” — noting it is contagious like the flu and must be managed with therapeutics and vaccines.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation efforts,” Meadows said during a contentious interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Why aren’t we going to get to control the pandemic?” Tapper asked.
“Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu,” Meadows responded, as the two went back and forth about President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence continuing to campaign after five members of Pence’s staff testing positive.
“Let me just say this is 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,” he said.
Mark Meadows: “We’re not going to control the pandemic, we are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”
Jake Tapper: “Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?”
Meadows: “Because it is a contagious virus” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/1ahyatu6co
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 25, 2020
Meadows then went on to suggest that former Vice President Joe Biden wants to quarantine the country.
Tapper said, “nobody is saying that.”
“They are. Joe Biden is saying that. He says, lock everybody down, we’re going to have a dark winter,” Meadows said.
But Tapper countered that’s what health officials are warning will happen this winter as the number of cases surged in the Midwest.
Democrats quickly ripped Meadow’s comment Sunday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has made the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic a main thrust of his campaign, said he was “stunned.”
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, accused the administration of “surrender.”
“He said we can’t control the virus. That was a very telling statement, that he said that. … Flattening the curve is controlling the virus,” Cuomo said Sunday at a coronavirus briefing.
Cuomo said the White House had “capitulated” to the pandemic.
“They surrendered. … It was the great American surrender. Americans don’t surrender. And they didn’t even put up a fight. What we learned in New York is, we put up a fight,” he said.
“We can’t control the virus — Trump’s theory: pre-emptive capitulation. Don’t even try. Just surrender pre-emptively. President Trump, commander in chief. Get attacked by an enemy and pre-emptively capitulate,” the governor continued. “And now we have 217,000 people dead. They were wrong then, they’re wrong now.”
More than 222,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, but fatality rates have sharply declined as treatments have improved.