Trump Chief Mark Meadows on Barr’s Slavery Comments: Covid Lockdowns are Bad But Not as Bad as Internment Camps


White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows weighed in on Attorney General William Barr’s remarks comparing COVID lockdowns to slavery, at first expressing general agreement, then conceding he would not have assessed lockdowns as worse than the WW2-era internment camps for Japanese Americans.

On Thursday morning, Meadows gaggled with reporters on the driveway to the West Wing, where he was asked about the comment Barr made during a Constitution Day event.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” Barr said. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

“Attorney General Barr, last night, said that lockdowns instituted by governors across the country is the worst violation of civil liberties in history except for slavery,” a reporter said, and asked, “Do you feel that way?”

Meadows delivered a lengthy response that expressed general agreement with the thrust of Barr’s statement, as read to him by the reporter:

Well when we look at lockdowns, when you look at individual liberties and who we are as a nation, a nation of freedom, 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.

“But the worst in history? I mean Japanese internment camps..” the reporter followed up.

“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 then cut off another follow-up by remarking “I get it, I didn’t see the quote.”

Watch the clip above via C-Span.

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