CNBC host Rick Santelli pushed back strongly on his Squawk Box co-host during Friday’s broadcast over increasing coronavirus restrictions squeezing some small businesses and unfairly giving exceptions to others.
The intense disagreement erupted after the hosts reported on a weaker-than-expected November jobs report that was impacted by some states resuming previous restrictions as hospitals appear to fill up at higher levels.
“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.”
“You can’t tell me that shutting down, which is the easiest answer, is necessarily the only answer,” Santelli continued, suggesting that more studies be done about how the virus transmits and how to bring people together in indoor spaces safely.
“It’s not science”
“It’s science. I’m sorry,” Sorkin answered, arguing that there’s a difference between going to a store and eating in a restaurant. “It’s science. If you’re wearing a mask, it’s a different story.”
Santelli wasn’t having any of it, however.
He became visibly agitated at Sorkin’s comments and shouted, “It’s not science! Five hundred people in a Lowe’s aren’t any safer than 150 people in a restaurant that holds 600. I don’t believe it. Sorry,” Santelli shouted.
“I disagree! You can have your thoughts and I have mine!” he yelled, talking over Sorkin.
Viewers should make their own decisions
Sorkin then said he was trying to keep the viewers safe and that Santelli was “doing a disservice to viewers” by suggesting it was safe to go to restaurants and other indoor locations unmasked.
“You’re doing a disservice to viewers!” Santelli shot back, adding, “I think our viewers are smart enough to make part of those decisions on their own!”
He noted that many restaurants in his area have ignored restrictions and reopened without any virus transmission.
Earlier in the segment, Santelli pointed out that politicians who “care about their families” were bringing them to restaurants, which told him that they aren’t that worried about getting the virus.
See video of the segment below: