GOP Sen. Kennedy: We’ve Got to Reopen — ‘American People Are Not Morons,’ ‘We’re Going to Have to Trust Them’

Wednesday during an appearance on the Fox News Channel,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) laid out his reasoning on why reopening the American economy was of the utmost priority and urged policymakers around the country to trust the public to do the right thing.

Kennedy dismissed attacks from those claiming one was “morally tainted” if they sought to reopen the economy.

Partial transcript as follows:

KENNEDY: The American people are not morons. 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 tans are going to run out of road. We’ve got to open this economy. If we don’t, it’s going to collapse and 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. 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 shutdown slowed the spread of the virus at enormous cost, but it still spread. 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.

So when we open up and we’re going to have to and somebody has got to make the call. We’ve got to be smart about how we do it. Don’t open up in the middle of a hot spot. 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 hot spots and track people who have been exposed. Test as much as we can. Make sure that we’ve got healthcare capacity, our governors and our President have been building up our healthcare capacity. But you know, this is — this is like choosing between cancer and a heart attack. It is a miserable choice, but this much I do know and I understand. Before we started today, I did some reading on the governor. I’m not being critical, but he is talking about leaving the economy closed until July.

Do you really believe the American people are going to stand for that? They’re not. They’re not. They’re going to go back to work and I sit on the Banking Committee. I have — I have conference calls twice a week with our senior Federal Reserve officials. This economy is going to collapse. The Federal Reserve cannot buy the economy and the final point I’ll make, I’m — I don’t want to hear any more from the sophomoric accusations and I’m not saying the governor made it, but the sophomoric accusation is that you’re morally tainted if you don’t want to see the American economy crash. 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 the cold hard facts 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’s just not realistic. And every politician, myself included sometimes is just dancing around the issue. The American people get it. We’ve got to reopen and when we do, the coronavirus is going to spread faster and we’ve got to be ready for it.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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