US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence continue to ignore COVID-19 guidelines and downplay its risk whilst leading packed rallies which endanger not only the public but also their own staff.
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short tested positive for the viral disease on Saturday. Sources have confirmed that at least 3 other Pence staffers have also tested positive in the previous week including Zach Bauer, a longtime Pence aide.
Even as cases rise steadily in the US, President Trump continues to peddle fake news and claims that the infections have risen due to increased testing.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows made the Trump administration’s strategy clear when he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that it was not possible to control the virus, because “it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
“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 Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, a Senate Republican, pushed back against those comments.
“We all have control, and we all have responsibility as leaders to set an example that consists of doing the right thing to stop the spread,” he said, pointing to mask wearing and social distancing. “There are certain elements of it that yes, we cannot control. It’s a virus. It’s very aggressive. It wants to infect a lot of people, but there are things about our own behavior that we can control.”
Other GOP senators distanced themselves from Meadows’ comments.
Asked whether they should stop trying to get the virus under control, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said, “Definitely not.”
“No, I think we do everything and throw the kitchen sink at getting the virus under control,” Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said when asked the same question.
The US has hit a new daily record for coronavirus cases, but both the administration and Trump campaign don’t seem to be bothered about last month’s Rose Garden Supreme Court nomination ceremony, which has since been called a ‘superspreader’ event.
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