White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in clarifying remarks on Oct. 26, said that the United States is “going to defeat the virus,” but can’t “control it,” referring to the CCP virus.
Meadows was criticized by Democrats, including Joe Biden, on Oct. 25 for telling CNN that “we are not going to control the pandemic … it’s a contagious virus just like the flu.”
In remarks to pool reporters the next day, he sought to offer more context about the battle against the virus. In the United States and Europe, cases are again on the rise, triggering lockdowns in some areas.
“We need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines,” Meadows said. “We may need to make sure that when people get sick, that they have the kind of therapies that the president of the United States had.
“Then we can provide those emergency using authorizations; hopefully they’ll be coming in very short order.”
Meadows also was responding to questions about several staffers in Vice President Mike Pence’s office testing positive for the CCP virus. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and at least four others tested positive, while Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, have both tested negative.
Meadows told CNN that Pence will continue to campaign and carry out his duties as vice president.
“I spoke to the vice president last night at midnight, and I can tell you that what he is doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing, and when he goes up to speak, he will take the mask off and put it back on,” Meadows said. “He is wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing, because the doctors have advised him to do that.”
Biden, who has cast himself as the candidate who will be able to defeat the virus, criticized Meadows for his remarks.
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgment 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,” Biden said in a statement.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, told CNN on Oct. 25 that Meadows’s comments are an admission of “defeat,” adding, “This is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of America.”
Also on Oct. 25, President Donald Trump told a crowd at a rally in New Hampshire that the United States is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.
“We are coming around, we’re rounding the turn. We have the vaccines, we have everything. Even without the vaccines, we’re rounding the turn,” he said. “It’s going to be over.”