Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows Unveils New White House COVID-19 Strategy: If You Can't Beat It, Join It!
Remember early in this pandemic, about
700 years seven months ago in one of his daily coronavirus briefings, when Donald Trump declared himself a "wartime president" against "the invisible enemy" named Covid-19? If not, here is a refresher:
Coronavirus: Trump calls himself 'wartime president' in battle with 'invisible enemy' youtu.be
It was a statement so ridiculous, it actually caused a small crash in the one thing Trump has cared about during his presidency: the stock market.
But on Sunday, October 25th, 2020, the war "ended." Or at least, that was what was declared by former Republican congressman and Trump's current (final?) White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Meadows's 17-minute appearance on CNN's "State Of The Union" on Sunday was like disasterpiece theatre. It began with host Jake Tapper asking obvious questions about contact tracing after it was reported that Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short and several aides at the VP's office tested positive for Covid-19. After Tapper pointed out several times that the White House did not notify people that could have been infected per CDC guidelines, Meadows chose instead to argue about the source.
Mark Meadows: We're not going to control the pandemic www.youtube.com
TAPPER: According to "The New York Times" -- quote -- "Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep the news of the outbreak from becoming public." Why would you do that? Is it because it's yet another sign of how much the White House has failed to contain the virus?
MEADOWS: Well, obviously -- yes. Yes, obviously, that's not a report. That's actually a tweet. And, when we look at this, when we're really talking about ...
TAPPER: No, that was a New York Times story.
Tapper pointed out some basic facts to Meadows:
TAPPER: So, Mark, Marc Short has been in close contact with Vice President Pence.
MEADOWS: Right. That's correct.
TAPPER: I mean, they are always with each other. Short is now positive for the virus.
MEADOWS: That's correct.
TAPPER: So, CDC guidelines say that Vice President Pence should quarantine for 14 days. Now, I understand the White House is trying to get around that by saying the vice president is an essential worker. But, Mark, how is going all over the country, how is that -- campaigning -- how is that essential work? It's not like he's helping to contain the virus, in fact, the opposite. He's holding rallies that could be spreading the virus.
Now this isn't the first time Mike Pence has ignored an AID(e)S crisis for political reasons, but it's even more jarring when coming from the person that is supposed to be leading the task force to stop this virus. Meadows kept insisting that Pence was following CDC guidelines despite Tapper pointing out he isn't.
Here's where Meadows declared victory, by declaring defeat:
TAPPER: It's coming from all sorts of places. It's coming from all sorts of places, because the pandemic is out of control.
MEADOWS: That's exactly the point. So, here's what we have to do. We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas...
It was so unbelievable, especially at the end of a presidential race hinging on who can resolve this crisis, that Tapper asked for a clarification.
TAPPER: Why aren't we going to get control of the pandemic?
MEADOWS: Because it is a contagious virus. Just like the flu, it's contagious.
TAPPER: Yes, but why not make efforts to contain it?
MEADOWS: Well, we are making efforts to contain it. And that's...
TAPPER: By running all over the country not wearing a mask? That's what the vice president is doing.
This is as close of a surrender as anyone has ever witnessed. So much so, the Biden campaigned seized on it to make their main point why we need to elect Joe:
President Trump and his administration may have quit on the American people — but I can promise you I never will. https://t.co/kQgFDSSrVu— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1603656720.0
Of course, this message is not technically new. Trump was already trying to claim premature victory in July. But now they are basically resigned to their lack of a plan.
Then Meadows came up with some next level deflection after Tapper pointed out the mixed messaging on masks from the administration at the Trump Covid rallies:
MEADOWS: Have you been to a rally? You come on with us to a rally, and we will -- we will show you. We give out masks.
TAPPER: They don't wear them.
MEADOWS: Well, it's a free society. You're not wearing one right now, Jake.
TAPPER: There's literally nobody in this room. There is literally not one person in the studio.
MEADOWS: Yes, and so -- so, you're saying that you always wear a mask wherever you go? Come on, Jake. The American people know that's not true. I know it's not true.
TAPPER: I wear a mask when -- except when I'm in here, in my office, and home. That is true, 100 percent.
Later Tapper posted these with what I can only imagine was petty glee.
Headed home now https://t.co/iHofSRTAAQ— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper)1603635365.0
The interview went so badly that even after the subject changed, the White House tried to pull Meadows out like The Sandman does to terrible acts at the Apollo Theater (which is still better than Trump on "60 Minutes"). Meadows attempted to play it cool, but Tapper decided to put it on front street so everyone at home knew how in trouble Meadows would be with President Biff Tannen.
TAPPER: Mark, I'm being told that we're getting the hook from your team over there at the White House. (LAUGHTER)
Stay safe, vote and see you next time.
Have a week!
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Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.