Mark Meadows calls Mark Meadows a liar rather than disagree with Donald Trump
Earlier in the week, there was a degree of excitement in the media over news that former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows was negotiating to appear before the House Select Committee on Jan. 6. That excitement seemed more than a little exaggerated, considering that Meadows was still seeking to limit his testimony and still carrying on the pretense that Donald Trump has executive privilege that extends to the grave.
Any remaining idea that Meadows’ appearance indicated some sort of break in the fearful loyalty of Trump’s inner circle should definitely have been quieted by the first glimpse at portions of Meadows’ upcoming book, which seems to be full of the such breathless, hero worshiping, “only Trump could do it” drivel that it might have been compiled from Trump’s own tweets. Meadows is not about to go on the stand and give the committee any nugget of truth about Trump while he’s making the rounds of conservative outlets selling the latest Trump hymnal.
However, one story out of Meadows’ “memoirs” did garner press attention. That’s because Meadows admitted that, three days before the first debate with Joe Biden, Trump tested positive for COVID-19. It seemed like not just a story showing Trump’s constant neglect of the pandemic, and his constant lying to the public, but possibly a deliberate attempt to spread the disease to his political opponent.
Then Trump issued a statement calling the story “fake news,” and Wednesday night Meadows dropped on Newsmax to agree: Mark Meadows is a liar.
In the story from Meadows’ book, the White House medical staff calls Meadows to tell him that Trump has tested positive for COVID-19 just as he is climbing onto Air Force One, Meadows passes the word onto Trump, who responds with a typically Trump four-letter-word-laden response. Then, according to Meadows, a second test is administered aboard the plane—though not before Trump wanders around maskless and talks to others on board, including the accompanying reporters.
In describing that second test, Meadows specifically notes that it is a “Binax” test, That’s a form of rapid antigen test. Looking at the CDC evaluation of Binax’s test, their trial run of 274 asymptomatic people showed a 9% rate of false negatives, but a 0% rate of false positives. In fact, when compared with the more accurate PCR testing …
Among symptomatic participants, 113 (13.7%) received a positive BinaxNOW antigen test result, and 176 (21.3%) received a positive real-time RT-PCR test result. Among asymptomatic participants, 48 (1.9%) received a positive BinaxNOW antigen test result, and 123 (4.7%) received a positive real-time RT-PCR test result.
In other words, for those already showing symptoms of COVID-19, the Binax test was 55% more likely to give a negative result. For those who were asymptomatic, but actually infected, the Binax test missed almost two thirds. The CDC’s conclusion was that the rapid antigen test used in Binax has a “reduced sensitivity to detect infection” and the ability to detect the virus “was lower compared with real-time RT-PCR.”
In other words, if Trump took a second test as described by Meadows, he took the version most likely to return a false negative.
Two days after that Air Force One flight, Trump made a Rose Garden appearance in which his podium was inexplicably distant from those of other speakers — something that had no happened before. And the night after that, the managers of the first debate announced that Trump had arrived at the location late. In fact, he was too late to take the mandated test that his team had agreed to before the debate. With Joe Biden’s permission, Trump was allowed to continue “on the honor system.”
Not until two days after the debate, on a 1 AM tweet, did Trump admit to testing positive.
Even the Newsmax announcer seems more than a bit unsure about Meadows’ “fake news” declaration: “The timing is interesting,” he says. “you have to admit. Was it even a week later they choppered him to Walter Reed and the president was very sick?”
Meadows response was … incoherent. “Yeah, listen, any time we look at things, and we look at tests, and we look at what happened, It’s … it’s certainly … uh … that’s what I outlined in the book. And … uh … talk about that Walter Reed visit. But there are a lot of great stories in the book.”
Sure there are. And Mark Meadows will stand by to tell you how they’re all wrong.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.