Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday joined the tally of conservatives saying it’s crucial to restart the U.S. economy, even if that means losing thousands of more lives to COVID-19 as a result.
In an interview on “The Daily DC” podcast, CNN’s Dana Bash asked about new internal government projections that nearly 3,000 people will be dying daily by June 1. He answered that people “are going to have to” swallow the idea of losing thousands of more lives. As social distancing restrictions ease in several states, another model often cited by the White House this week revised fatality projections to more than 134,000 by Aug. 4, almost double the previous estimate.
Christie claimed the “economic devastation” caused by widespread stay-at-home measures due to the pandemic was “equally sad.”
“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can ― but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” Christie asked. “Are there ways that we can thread the middle here to allow that there are going to be deaths, and there are going to be deaths no matter what?”
He suggested keeping the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems at home, and limiting large public gatherings like concerts and sports events while letting others get back to work.
He is pushing for America to re-open. When I asked @GovChristie on #thedailydc whether people will be able to live with CDC projection of 3,000 deaths per day, he said “They're gonna have to." https://t.co/jc4h3PzbDu
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) May 5, 2020
Asked for his message if he were in the Oval Office, Christie, who ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, said that “the message is that the American people have gone through significant death before” and compared reopening the country to the “sacrifice” made by American soldiers in World War II.
“We sacrificed those lives. We sent our young men during WWII over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing, knowing that many of them would not come home alive,” he said. “And we decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”
It’s not the first time Christie has pushed for the country to reopen before public health experts say it’s safe to do so, and he is one member of a growing list of conservatives who insist that widespread death from coronavirus is a justifiable price to pay for reviving the nation’s economy.
Last month, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.) claimed the government should “always choose” the economy over American lives, and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that “there are more important things than living” in his own push to reopen businesses.
Christie’s remarks did not sit well with many people:
Huuuuuuge difference between sending the boys overseas to fight fascists engaged in genocide and sending Grandma to die because Chris Christie misses the unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden. pic.twitter.com/USlLvQeIiK
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) May 5, 2020
To hell with @GovChristie, and to hell with those in the @GOP who assume this was how it had to be. Their guy screwed it up. Their guy refuses to take any responsibility, and still has no plan to #TestTraceIsolate. They made this our destiny. https://t.co/tTERCEej5M
— Dr. Rob Davidson (@DrRobDavidson) May 5, 2020
Christie's lowest approval rating (14%) was still a bit higher than the percentage of N.J. residents who think the stay-at-home order goes too far (11%). https://t.co/p9ibZ8Qyzg
— Matt Friedman (@MattFriedmanNJ) May 5, 2020
This trash Chris Christie compares reopening the economy to the WW2. "The message is that the American people have gone through significant death before," citing "we've gone through it and we've survived it. We sacrificed those lives."https://t.co/3QKhO05luA
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) May 5, 2020
We should thank Chris Christie for making things crystal clear for us: his team on the far-right values only one thing: money. And for the love of money they are fine with letting a few thousand, maybe a hundred or two hundred thousand (?) Americans die. Sky's the limit, suckers. pic.twitter.com/Qf9FPCxdOr
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 5, 2020
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