An explosive argument broke out on live TV Friday morning when CNBC On-Air Editor Rick Santelli slammed his colleague Andrew Sorkin, co-host of CNBC’s the “Squawk Box” and financial columnist for The New York Times, for supporting the lockdowns of restaurants and churches.
“You can’t tell me that shutting down, which is the easiest answer, is the only answer,” Santelli said in response to Sorkin’s argument that people are safe from the spread of coronaviurs in big box stores, but not in restaurants.
“There is a difference,” said Sorkin, who according to The Hill has previously engaged in on-air arguments over COVID-19 guidelines.
A fight about lockdowns broke out on CNBC this morning pic.twitter.com/KZyAKpaQt0
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“It’s science. I’m sorry,” Sorkin said, without providing evidence.
Santelli, however, vehemently disagreed, disputing Sorkin’s claim that shutting down certain businesses over others is the right way to combat the pandemic.
“Therefore, there is actually and should be, an ongoing debate as to why a parking lot for a big box store, like by my house, is jam-packed. Not one parking spot open,” Santelli said. “Why are those people any safer than a restaurant with Plexiglas? I just don’t get it. And I think there’s a million of these questions that could be asked.”
“I think it’s really sad that when we look at the service sector and all the discussions we’ve had about job losses that that particular dynamic isn’t studied more, isn’t worked more, we don’t put more people in a room and try to figure out ways so that these service-sector employees and employers can all come back in a safer way,” Santelli continued.
Sorkin then went on to claim that Santelli was “doing a disservice to the viewers” by suggesting something other than the narrative pushed by certain health officials and politicians.
“I’m sorry. I would like to keep our viewers as healthy as humanly possible. The idea of packing restaurants…”
Santelli fired right back, interrupting Sorkin’s monologue.
“You are doing a disservice to the viewer. You are,” he said.
By the end of the segment, other hosts and reporters on the show joined Sorkin in jumping on Santelli and criticizing his viewpoint.
“How’s it all working out for you, Rick?” one of them asked. “I mean look at the numbers. Rick, the numbers show that when people are getting sick and dying.”
“I understand people are getting sick and dying. I just think that the way we deal with it is not necessarily optimal,” Santelli said.