Senator Chris Murphy Discusses Anti-Lockdown Protests

Anti-lockdown demonstrators took to the streets across America this weekend. Protesters in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Washington, and other states demanded governors reopen their frozen economies. It’s a sign of the times, as coronavirus becomes part of the fabric of President Trump’s re-election campaign. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) joins Christiane to discuss the situation.

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SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): This legislation that we are right now crafting is really just an amendment, an adjustment, to the prior $2 trillion bill. This bill is designed to replenish the account that is keeping small businesses alive. Right now, if you are a small business you can apply for a grant up to $10 million in order to keep your employees with you throughout this crisis. That money ran out last week. We need to replenish the account. We also need to make some adjustments to it. We have heard and I have heard personally that a lot of very small businesses have not been made eligible for those dollars or at least, are being forced to wait in line behind bigger clients of the private banks that are actually distributing the money. And then we also need to do something about the fact that testing is flatlined in this country. Testing right now needs to grow. It probably needs to double over the course of the next few weeks in order to be able to make the tough decisions to reopen the economy and this, sort of, interim package will have some funding to increase testing capability. So, we`re constantly trying to make adjustments to keep the economy afloat and to make sure that we are getting out ahead of this virus. And hopefully, will have the latest legislative package sown up sometime early, middle of this week.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because the testing is one big, big issue for unlocking the lockdown. But as you can see as we pointed out, and obviously you have been watching for several days now, there are these protests being organized against Democratic governors, some of them are Republican governors, who are, you know, enacting their lockdown mandate. Can you tell me how you assess what`s happening on the street? Is it something that is going to potentially, you know, reach a tipping point that potentially might cause governors to want to ease the lockdown sooner rather than later or sooner than the scientists say is the right time?

MURPHY: Well, I mean, these are fringe protests and they`re made for TV. So, they obviously get a lot of attention but Americans don`t support opening up our economies right now. You read a statistic that suggests 60 percent of Americans are worried about opening up too early. But if you ask people whether they support opening the economy today, that number would be well north of 60 percent. And so, you know, I worry that, you know, there`s interest in covering conflict and this looks like conflict but this is a very small percentage of Americans that are calling for the reopening of America today, even as public health experts tell us that that would be catastrophic, leading to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Of course the risk is that President Trump starts to get behind these protests and if he does more than send out an occasional tweet in support of them, if he becomes a full-throated defender of these protests, then all of a sudden, that number could move from, you know, 10 percent support to 20 percent or 30 percent support and then you do have a legitimately political problem, but we are not there yet.

About This Episode EXPAND

Amid organized anti-lockdown protests in the United States, Christiane speaks with Senator Chris Murphy. The UK’s former Health Minister discusses Boris Johnson’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. John B. King, former U.S. Secretary of Education, joins Hari to discuss the downfalls of distance learning. Dr. Sharon Moalem explains why men are more likely to die from COVID-19 than women.