White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says Joe Biden and other Democrats are taking his comments about COVID-19 out of context. How it's playing out:
- Original comments: On Sunday, Meadows appeared on CNN and declared the US was "not going to control the pandemic" but would instead "control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas."
- Biden reaction: The Democratic candidate sought to capitalize. "This wasn't a slip by Meadows," Biden said Sunday. "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."
- Coverage: The Washington Post headline Monday morning on the topic begins, "White House signals defeat in pandemic ..."
- Pushing back: On Monday, Meadows spoke with reporters outside the White House. "The only person waving a white flag, along with his white mask, is Joe Biden," he said, per the AP. But Meadows doubled down on his point about not controlling the virus. "I mean, when we look at this, we're going to defeat the virus. We're not going to control it. We will try to contain it as best we can."
- Elaborating: Meadows said the White House is optimistic that vaccines are just weeks away, reports Politico. "At the same time, a national lockdown strategy or a national quarantine strategy that is proposed by the left is not effective [and] is not what ultimately [will] contain or control this virus. So any suggestion that we're waving ... the white flag is certainly not in keeping with this president."
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