Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar is defending the federal government’s progress on the coronavirus pandemic, saying on Sunday “all Western democracies” are having trouble avoiding large gatherings.
“I guess what I’m trying to figure out is how are the American people supposed to take your advice if the president of the United States won’t take your advice?” host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddTrump bashes NBC ahead of town hall, adds it’s ‘a free hour on television’ Chuck Todd indirectly refers to former colleague Olbermann as ‘somebody from the very far left’ of the media world Trump campaign defends lack of COVID-19 precautions before president’s diagnosis MORE asked Azar on “Meet the Press,” noting that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLatest Mnuchin-Pelosi call produces ‘encouraging news on testing’ for stimulus package China warns it will detain American nationals following DOJ prosecution of Chinese scholars: report Musician John Fogerty issues cease and desist over Trump use of ‘Fortunate Son’ MORE on Saturday held a large event in Wisconsin, a state HHS has classified as in the “red zone” for community spread.
“We’re seeing an increase in cases in states whether red or blue or open or closed, we’re seeing an explosion of cases in Europe,” Azar responded. “The ticket is in our hands, it’s about those basic public health mitigation steps… we have it in our individual control.”
“Why is that message so difficult for the president?” Todd asked.
“I think it is a difficult message for all Western democracies,” Azar said. “We’re seeing that in Europe, people are tired … we’re so close. Hang in there with us, we are so close.”
Azar went on to claim “we are weeks away” from monoclonal antibodies and effective vaccines for the virus.
WATCH: @ChuckTodd presses @SecAzar on the Trump campaign’s decision to hold large events despite a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases. #MTP
Todd: “Why is that message so difficult for the president?”
Azar: “I think it is a difficult message for all Western democracies.” pic.twitter.com/xOmPJMvouL
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 18, 2020
“What message are we sending, what example are you setting as a top public health official participating in indoor events like that?” Todd asked, in reference to an indoor event in Fort Myers, Florida.
Azar responded that masks had been distributed at the event in question and seating had been arranged in keeping with social distancing practices.
“We encourage people to wear face coverings and I wish everybody there would have worn face coverings and maintained social distancing,” he added.