CNBC’s Santelli Takes on Pro-Lockdown Pundit — Says Viewers ‘Smart Enough’ to Make Decisions on Their Own

CNBC’s Rick Santelli found himself in the spotlight during Friday’s broadcast of “Squawk Box.”

Nearly 12 years after an on-camera spot from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that is believed to have inspired the Tea Party movement, Santelli went head-to-head against “Squawk Box” regular Andrew Ross Sorkin about the pandemic and the choices that CNBC viewers make.

Partial transcript as follows:

SANTELLI: I believe in careful. And when I point out governor’s cheating, it’s not for the hypocrisy, which exists, it’s the fact that I think many of these governors are intelligent people and they love their families which they’ve taken out into restaurants. Therefore, there is actually and should be an ongoing debate as to, you know, why a parking lot for a big box store like by my house is jam-packed, not one parking spot open. Why are those people any safer than a restaurant with plexiglass, I just don’t get it, and I think there’s a million of these questions that could be asked, and I think it’s really sad that when we look at the service sector, and all the discussions we’ve had about that job losses that that particular dynamic isn’t studied more, isn’t worked more, we don’t put more people in a room to figure out ways so that these service sector employees and employers can all come back in a safer way you can’t tell me that shutting down, which is the easiest answer, is not necessarily the only answer.

SORKIN: Rick, I — just — just as a — as a public health and public service announcement for the audience the difference between —

SANTELLI: Wait, wait. First of all, who is this?

SORKIN: …a big box retailer

SANTELLI: Who is this?

SORKIN: Hold on. The difference between — it’s Andrew.

KERNEN: Who else? Who else? Of course.

SORKIN: The difference between a big box retailer, hold on. The difference between a big box retailer and a restaurant or frankly, even a church, are so different it’s unbelievable.

SANTELLI: I disagree, I disagree.

SORKIN: Going into a big box retailer, you’re wearing —

SANTELLI: I disagree. You can have —

SORKIN: — you’re wearing a mask.

SANTELLI: You can have your thoughts and I can have mine.

SORKIN: You’re required to wear a mask.

SANTELLI: I disagree.

SORKIN: It’s science. I’m sorry. It’s science.

SANTELLI: It’s not science.

SORKIN: If you’re wearing a mask, it’s a different story.

SANTELLI: Five-hundred people in Lowes aren’t any safer than 150 people in a restaurant that holds 600. I don’t believe it. Sorry. Don’t believe it.



SANTELLI: …where there’s a lot of restaurants that fought back, and they don’t have any problems, and they’re open.

SORKIN: OK, you don’t have to believe it, but let me just say this —

SANTELLI: I don’t and I won’t.

SORKIN: You’re doing a disservice to the viewer because the viewers need to understand it.

SANTELLI: You are doing a disservice


SANTELLI: — to the viewer. You are. You are.

SORKIN: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. If I would like to keep our viewers as healthy as humanly possible. The idea of packing people into restaurants and packing people into a Best Buy —

SANTELLI: Yeah. I think are viewers are smart enough to make part of those decisions on their own.——

SORKIN: …are completely different things. They’re different things

SANTELLI: I don’t think that I’m much smarter than all the viewers like some people do.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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