Following the riot at the US Capitol and the loss of Republican Senate seats in Georgia, US President Donald Trump has reversed his previous hardline stand against economically damaging responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by imposing an immediate national lockdown.
Observers say the move may be Mr Trump’s way to regain some credibility in the dying days of his presidency.
With the coronavirus death toll in the US standing at more than 373,000, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the planned lockdown would prevent anyone living in all 50 states comprising the USA from leaving their home.
Ms McEnany quickly agreed that the decision represented a backflip by Mr Trump.
“I agree with that description wholeheartedly,” she told reporters. “Technically, a backflip involves someone executing a move that leaves them facing the same direction in which they started.
“So yes, the President has backflipped in that he has not changed his approach at all.
“He has always supported a lockdown in principle and has never downplayed the impact of the virus despite his many previous statements that were reported by fake news outlets as opposing a lockdown and playing down the impact of the virus,” she told confused reporters.
Ms McEnany said the lockdown would also apply to the President himself who would remain in isolation in the White House.
“While the lockdown means nobody can enter or leave the White House, the President is a special case as head of government and head of state so a few basic exemptions will need to apply to his movements,” she said.
“He will be allowed to leave the White House to attend rallies with several hundred or several thousand close associates granted special temporary exemptions, and to attend to day-to-day executive functions,” she said before continuing in almost a whisper, “such as being sworn in to serve a second term the new US Chief Justice, Rudy Giuliani, and to play golf.”
Ms McEnany then left the White House briefing room while ignoring further questions except for one seeking details of the duration of the lockdown.
“At this stage the President is planning on maintaining the lockdown until 20 January 2025, possibly 20 January 2029,” she said.