Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said on Monday that the U.S. should reopen even if it means more coronavirus deaths in the country.
Christie said in an interview on CNN’s podcast the Daily DC that people in the country are “going to have to” accept a projected rise of about 3,000 coronavirus deaths per day due to states easing restrictions on things like social distancing.
“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can. But the question is: Towards what end, ultimately?” Christie questioned on the podcast.
He then added that this isn’t the first time that the U.S. has gone through “significant death” before. He compared the coronavirus deaths to soldiers who died in World War II.
“We’ve gone through it and we’ve survived it,” he said. “We sacrificed those lives.”
The former governor added that the economic devastation is “equally sad” to the toll that coronavirus has taken on the country. He pointed out that his statement applies to even his home state of New Jersey, which is the second-worst state for coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S.
“We’ve got to let some of these folks get back to work because if we don’t, we’re going to destroy the American way of life in these families,” he said.
While the Republican, who ran for president in 2016, did say that he’s not advocating for the elderly to leave their homes or for the U.S. to hold rock concerts, he said that day-to-day businesses should reopen and rely on temperature checks and hand washing to get them through the global pandemic.
Some Twitter users agreed with the politician, saying they viewed the economic conditions as more grave than the coronavirus.
“Chris Christie is right, America can’t stay closed forever like liberals want it to be. We cannot live in fear forever,” Twitter user @real_defender wrote. “The cure cannot be worse than the virus itself.”
Other users were angry about the former governor’s statements. Many suggested that the politician is out of touch and doesn’t have to be on the front line of what he’s suggesting.
“Simple ask of any of these Republicans like Chris Christie who want to reopen America quicker––you first. Serve a week in a hospital, prison or Amazon warehouse first and then we’ll see if it’s safe,” Twitter user @cenkuuygur wrote. “You’re not going to ask others to do what you wouldn’t, right?”
Some Twitter users said they, for one, are not willing to die just to reopen the economy.
“I’m barely okay with God deciding when I’m going to die. I definitely don’t want that decision in the hands of Donald Trump and Chris Christie,” TV producer Bryan Behar wrote on Twitter.
One person pointed out that there’s a big difference between WW II deaths and coronavirus deaths.
“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,” writer Gary Legum wrote on Twitter.
Christie is the latest in a line of Republicans who have suggested that the economic benefits to reopening outweigh the consequences. For example, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said there are “more important things than living” as he called for more relaxed regulations in the state.
*First Published: May 5, 2020, 7:36 am
Sierra Juarez is a freelance journalist and fact-checker based in Mexico. She most enjoys writing about human rights and politics and working in audience engagement. Her work has appeared in the Texas Tribune, the Austin American–Statesman, and the San Antonio Current.