On Thursday, Meadows spoke with reporters on the driveway to the White House’s West Wing where he was asked about Barr’s remarks and whether or not he agreed with the sentiment.
“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 opted to focus on Barr’s arguments about protecting individual and civil liberties as he expressed concern about the lockdown’s impact on those liberties.
“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 believes those simple liberties are inherent,” Meadows said.
He added, “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.”
See Meadows’ remarks below:
The reporter went on to ask Meadows about other times civil liberties have been abused in American history, like internment camps.
“But the worst in history? I mean Japanese internment camps?,” the reporter asked.
Meadows admitted that he believes civil liberties have been “trampled on” due to the coronavirus lockdown. But, he ultimately distanced from Barr’s remarks as he conceded that he would not have made that type of analogy.
“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.”
Meadows remarks came just hours after Barr’s remarks at a Constitution Day event. At the time, the attorney general participated in a Q and A session as part of the event.
At the event, he expressed concern about the coronavirus lockdown as he described it as an “intrusion on civil liberties” comparable to house arrest and slavery.
“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.”
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