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A CNBC segment quickly erupted into a fiery debate between hosts who battled over the rally of the stock market and support of President Donald Trump.
The hosts of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin, locked horns Wednesday as they sparred over the spike in the stock market in an apparent reaction to optimism in the reopening of the nation’s economy after months of coronavirus shutdowns.
Sorkin contended that “a lot of smart people” agree that there is some skepticism about how some stocks were rallying so quickly even though the pandemic had caused so much disruption and unemployment in the country.
“Why is that the smart people?! They’ve been wrong for 35 percent!” Kernen, who called out Sorkin’s pessimism, said. “Why are they smart?! Just because they can see what’s right in front of their nose?! That doesn’t make them smart! It makes them not savvy about the market!”
“Joe! You missed it a hundred percent on the way down,” Sorkin replied, “and you missed it 100 percent on the way down! And you missed 100,000 deaths!”
“Hold on! Hold on! Hold on!” he exclaimed as Kernen attempted to make another point. “I’m not going to do this with you, Joe!”
He argued about the validity of the questions being raised as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 300 points in opening minutes on Wednesday.
“Every morning, you try to question the questions I’m asking. These are questions investors are asking every single morning. I’m just trying to get through some of this clutter. I may be right, I may be wrong…That makes the market, but it doesn’t make people good or bad or right to act the way you are,” Sorkin said. “I’m sorry.”
When Kernen noted that Sorkin was yelling as he did in the previous day’s broadcast, he argued that he was not.
“You just yelled again!” Kernen said.
“I’m not,” Sorkin said. “Go ahead.”
“I’m sorry?!” Kernen shot back as the segment continued to go off the rails.
“No you’re not,” Sorkin responded. “Go ahead with the news!”
But Kernen did not move on and chose to set the record straight instead.
“You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about PPE, panicked about ever going out again,” he recounted, as Sorkin absolutely erupted.
“Joseph! You didn’t panic about anything!” he exclaimed. “100,000 people died! 100,000 people died, Joe!
“I understand, that,” Kernen interjected.
“And all you did was try to help your friend the president. That’s what you did! Every single morning on this show!” Sorkin raged. “Every single morning on this show. You used and abused your position, Joe!”
“That’s totally unfair!” Kernen fired back. “I’m trying to help investors keep their cool! Keep their heads! And as it turned out, that’s what they should’ve done!”
“Do the news,” Sorkin concluded.
“If they had listened to you, Andrew, we’re supposed to be at about 8,000,” Kernen replied.
“I wasn’t arguing to go sell your stocks, Joseph!” Sorkin countered. “I was arguing about people’s lives! … Do the news, Joseph! I’m begging you! Do the news!”
“It is a global pandemic, Andy where per capita deaths we are down near the low end,” Kernen explained, noting that, while “it’s terrible” that there were so many deaths, the numbers never reached the dire projections the so-called experts warned about, sending the markets and people into a panic.
“It was never going to be that we weren’t going to come back and that we weren’t going to return to normal and… giving credence to all that panic didn’t help any investors,” he noted. “That’s why we’re here, to try and navigate people through, not trying to help Donald Trump.”
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