White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows admitted what many had assumed about the U.S. coronavirus response on Sunday. During an appearance on State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Meadows bluntly told the host that controlling the coronavirus was not in the cards for the nation.
"We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," Meadows told a flabbergasted Tapper on Sunday. The statement is on the heels of spikes around the nation and another outbreak at the White House. At the same time, Donald Trump continues telling large crowds at his rallies that the country is "rounding the corner."
Mark Meadows is making very clear on CNN that the White House has given up trying to contain the coronavirus. Their only strategy at this point is praying for a vaccine. pic.twitter.com/ZvPsQA7gDI— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2020
The statement also comes nine days before Election Day, giving fuel to the messaging from Joe Biden's camp that the Trump administration failed to respond to the pandemic. Biden released a statement shortly after the interview aired Sunday, slamming the comments by Meadows.
"This wasn't a slip by Meadows," Biden's statement read. "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."
The response elsewhere in Washington, D.C., was a bit divided, according to POLITICO. Sen. John Thune and Sen. Roy Blunt, Republicans from South Dakota and Missouri respectively, disagreed with meadows and said control is an individual task for leadership to follow.
"[We] all have a responsibility as leaders to set an example that consists of doing the right things to stop the spread, and I think that's encouraging the wearing of masks and encouraging social distancing," Thune said. "We all know it stops the spread. Science proves that."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, up for reelection in South Carolina, took another path and defended Meadows' comments, seeming to say our only hope is a vaccine or therapeutics. "It's all over the world, guys," Graham said. "I mean, you've had every model from herd immunity to lock the whole world down, and it's still a problem."
TAPPER: Why don't you ask people to wear masks at Trump rallies?
MEADOWS: We pass them out
T: They don't wear them!
M: Well, it's a free society. You're not wearing one right now, Jake
T: There's literally nobody in this room pic.twitter.com/k63rvlMsQZ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2020
Meadows also compared the coronavirus and its spread to the common flu, calling it a "contagious" virus that can't be contained. All aspects that are proven false with a look at facts and information from scientists.
The new spike at The White House is connected to at least five staffers for Mike Pence, though the vice president himself has tested negative to this point and will continue with his normal schedule. It follows a slew of infections earlier in October stemming from Amy Coney Barrett's nomination ceremony. This event led to Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie and others testing positive. The president spent time in Walter Reed Hospital while battling the disease.