White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has hit back at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over criticism that the Trump administration has given up on trying to control the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Trump’s top aide had conceded that the US is “not going to control the pandemic “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Those comments had produced criticism and at least one news headline saying: “White House gives up on trying to control virus spread.”
Later, Biden said the White House was waving “the white flag of defeat”. He added that Meadows’ comments showed that the Trump administration had “given up on their basic duty to protect the American people”.
On Monday, Meadows tried to do some cleanup, saying that “the only person waving a white flag along with his white mask is Joe Biden.” Meadows said the president won’t give up until all Americans are safe and the virus is defeated.
“We are going to defeat the virus. We are not going to control it. We will try to contain it as best we can,” Meadows said.
“And if you look at full context of what I was talking about is, is we need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines. We may need to make sure that when people get sick that that they have the kind of therapies that the President of the United States has that we can provide those emergency use authorizations hopefully will be coming in very short order,” he added.
About 225,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began, the highest figure of any country.
The US recorded 83,718 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, just short of the record 83,757 reported on Friday. Previously, the highest number of reported infections in a single day was 77,362 on 16 July.
The country’s coronavirus outbreak has become a key policy battleground ahead of the November 3 election, and contributed to a surge in postal and early in-person voting.
About 59 million ballots have already been cast, a record figure largely spurred by the pandemic.