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Senator John Kennedy urged the re-opening of the U.S. economy while admitting it could mean more American deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Louisiana Republican spoke with Fox News host Tucker Carlson about the state of the U.S. economy, admitting that the COVID-19 virus would probably spread faster with the re-opening of businesses, but the alternative is certain economic collapse.
(Source: Fox News)
“I mean, here’s the way I see it. The American people are not morons,” Kennedy said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday. “They understand what I’m about to say, and at some point, we’re going to have to trust them. Number one, very, very soon, the can is going to run out of road.”
“We’ve got to open this economy. If we don’t, it’s going to collapse,” he warned.
“If the U.S. economy collapses, the world economy collapses. And trying to burn down the village to save it is foolish. That’s a cold hard truth,” Kennedy added. “Number two: Yes, we shut down, but the shutdown did not stop the spread of the virus. I wish it had. But it’s too late for that.”
The GOP lawmaker admitted that the shut down was effective, but contended that it did still spread through the country. The current number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US exceeds 640,000 with nearly 31,000 deaths as of this writing, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“The shut down slowed the spread of the virus at enormous cost, but it still spread,” Kennedy said.
“Number three: When we end the shutdown, the virus is going to spread faster. That’s just a fact. And the American people understand that,” he told Carlson.
“So when we open up and we’re going to have to, and somebody’s got to make the call, we got to be smart about how we do it,” Kennedy continued, offering some suggestions.
“Don’t open up in the middle of a hotspot. Encourage your elderly and those with pre-existing conditions to stay quarantined and provide them financial support. Wear masks. Try to socially distance. Use technology without violating privacy to try to track the hotspots and track people who have been exposed. Test as much as we can. Make sure that we got healthcare capacity,” he said, adding, “this is like choosing between cancer and a heart attack.”
The Louisiana senator took issue with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy who issued a series of executive orders last month which placed restrictions on residents and businesses that could last until early summer.
“I’m not being critical, but he’s talking about leaving the economy closed until July. Do you really believe the American people are going to stand for that?” Kennedy asked.
“They are not. They’re not. They’re going to go back to work. And, and, I sit on the Banking Committee, I have conference calls twice a week with our senior federal officials. This economy is going to collapse. The Federal Reserve cannot buy the economy,” he said.
Kennedy anticipated the criticisms he would get about his recommendations but called out those who attempt to paint anyone with similar views as monsters who want to see Americans die.
“I don’t want to hear any more from the sophomoric accusations — and I’m not saying the governor made it — but the sophomoric accusations that you’re morally tainted if you don’t want to see the American economy crash,” Kennedy told Carlson. “I value life. We all value life in America. So this isn’t a question of not valuing life. This is a question of making a hard decision with cold, hard facts.”
The senator concluded with a reality check for the skeptics.
“And anybody who thinks that we can just leave this economy shut down indefinitely until we have no more cases — well, they probably still believe in Bigfoot because that is just not realistic and every politician, myself included sometimes, it is just dancing around the issue,” he said.
“The American people get it. We’ve got to reopen,” he said, “and when we do, the coronavirus is going to spread faster, and we’ve got to be ready.”
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