Civic

Former congressman from the area Mark Meadows rips riots

Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Washington, D.C. – Mark Meadows, chief of staff and former congressman of local U.S.  House District 11, is making more impact than ever as a lead policy negotiator and spokesman for President Donald Trump’s administration.

Pres. Trump, in visiting Mills River Aug. 24, said he simply calls Chief of Staff Meadows “Chief.” Indeed, Meadows is often the chief negotiator along with Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin on spending bills including extending stimulus aid during the pandemic.

Meadows told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday that he asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi what her latest offer of $2.2 trillion entailed. Meadows said Pelosi responded “I’m not going to tell you. Let me fill in the blanks.” He said, “That’s not a proper negotiation. In fact, many of her rank-and-file members don’t even accept it.” The stalemate continues.

Historically, the chief of staff is an administration’s catalyst. Many were legislators. Meadows, now 61, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012. He was in his fourth term when this year he vacated his seat, to accept Trump’s appointment as chief of staff. Meadows and Jim Jordan of Ohio helped lead the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Meadows’ organizational skills in the White House largely stem from being a business owner, before entering politics in ’12. He was a real estate developer and ran Aunt D’s sandwich shop in Highlands, N.C.

Meadows was often interviewed on television as a leading conservative congressman, and now even more often as the Trump Administration’s main spokesperson. Last Sunday, Aug. 30, Meadows was interviewed by host Chuck Todd for ten minutes on NBC’s Meet the Press. On Aug. 23, Meadows was on two major morning news shows. The more detailed interview that Sunday was on Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace. Todd and Wallace each grilled Meadows, in often tense interviews.

Rips Rioters

Meadows was asked by Wallace about Pres. Trump’s claim “I’m the only thing standing between the American Dream and total anarchy, madness and chaos.”

Meadows agrees. He called some BLM protestors’ attacks on people and property “appalling.” He said “supposedly peaceful protests are now being classified as riots. And now, this president is the only thing standing between that and anarchy.”

Meadows said on Fox News, “You don’t have a First Amendment right to loot, or to riot. And what we’re seeing on the streets of Kenosha really just breaks our hearts.” 

Protests are infiltrated by anarchists, he said on NBC. Some of the splinters … were running around in the streets of Washington, D.C. accosting Sen. Rand Paul…That’s not what the Constitution protects. And it’s not what we should be endorsing,” yet many Democrats excuse the violence, he said.

Meadows told NBC’s Todd the administration “sent in the National Guard, FBI agents, U.S. Marshals to restore peace in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And that’s what needs to happen in Portland” after “94 days” of continued violence there.

Yet he noted the Portland mayor and Oregon governor refused help he personally offered over the phone.  “As we look in Portland, it’s not Donald Trump’s district attorney that says ‘stand down,’ Meadows said. “It’s not Donald Trump saying ‘look the other way.’ It’s the mayor of Portland… it’s not this president who’s said ‘let’s defund the police.’”

Riots are “out of control. It can’t be allowed to continue,” Meadows told Fox News last week. “Liberal governors are ignoring the problem. You have to have enough people on the ground, to not let the rioting go on and to restore safety.”

He told Wallace it is critical to bolster law enforcement “tools to restore law order and keep safety in the communities. This president has never equivocated in that matter.”

In Portland, Ore., FBI and other feds arrested about 100 rioters, Meadows said. But police there “won’t even arrest people” or with a lax district attorney “they let them go the very next day.” He told NBC’s Todd the district attorney in Portland “says that ‘even if you accost a police officer, we’re not going to enforce that.’ It’s just not what most Americans believe should be happening in our cities.” Instead, “we need to make sure that these people who are conducting these (terrorist) acts go to jail.”

When asked about Election Day security for Nov. 3,  Meadows told Wallace “if you want to show up and vote in person, we want to make sure that is safe.” Washington will not “deploy thousands of sheriffs” as Trump indicated, Meadows said. But “if the judges at those polling places need any kind of security, we’re going to make sure they have the resources to do that.”

Turning Tables

Meadows flashed his familiar boyish grin once, when reversing the tables on interviewer Chris Wallace. Here is how that exchange went: 

Meadows is often put on the spot to explain a Trump action or statement. Wallace brought up obscure right-wing Q’Anon, which sees a leftist conspiracy against Trump. Wallace asked Meadows if Pres. Trump condemns it. Meadows eventually indicated yes, if it is indeed a “hate group.” 

First, he got edgy with Chris Wallace. “I can tell you that you spent more time talking about this, Chris, than we have in the White House. I find it appalling that the media — when we have all of the important things going on” — asks about a group he “had to Google, to figure out what it is.”

Meadows then pivoted for a counter jab. “It’s ridiculous. If you want to talk about conspiracy — let’s get back to talking about how the FBI and others within the FBI spied on the Trump campaign” in 2016. Meadows grinned as he finished with “I’ll be glad to speak about that.” He also mentioned the Marxist Antifa group infiltrating BLM rallies.