Mark Meadows responded to William Barr’s criticism of Coronavirus lockdowns on Thursday by hinting that hyperbolic comparisons are inappropriate.
The White House chief of staff spoke to a gaggle of reporters and was asked about the Attorney General’s remarks. Barr has caused some outrage by contrasting COVID-19 measures with slavery.
“Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr had said.
Meadows gave a long answer that appeared broadly supportive of Barr’s position.
“Well when we look at lockdowns, when you look at individual liberties and who we are as a nation, a nation of freedom,” he said.
“Many times when we give up those civil liberties, and I’m one that believe in those simple liberties are inherent, they’re enshrined by our constitution, and we need to protect those because when bad things happen, we sometimes, not always, but sometimes start to take away the liberties that are enshrined in our and are part of our constitutional rights, and make us different as Americans than many other countries.”
A reporter asked Meadows if lockdowns were “the greatest intrusion” in history and pointed to the infamous internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“Yeah I’m not familiar with the quote,” Meadows said.
“Obviously we’ve got a number of times where civil liberties have been trampled on, and certainly when we start to look down at forced confinement, those are tough.”
“To compare them with the Japanese internment camp, I don’t know that he made that analogy, I certainly wouldn’t,” he said.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media