On Thursday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called for Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina to resign and be prosecuted for insider trading. Earlier in the day, the investigative news site ProPublica reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman sold stock in mid-February that he knew would take a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while Burr downplayed the threat of the coronavirus publicly, NPR obtained a recording of him privately warning of its dangers.
“There is one thing about this,” Burr is heard saying in the recording, “it is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything we have seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
The 1918 pandemic to which Burr is referring is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide.
Carlson slammed Burr not only for insider trading, but also for not warning the public about how dangerous the coronavirus actually is.
“He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public,” Carlson said. “He didn’t give a prime time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. … Instead, what did he do? He dumped his share in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent.”
Carlson went on to call for Burr to resign and be prosecuted.
“Maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately,” Carlson said. “Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading. There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis.”
Burr, who was one of only three senators to vote against a bill in 2012 banning insider trading by lawmakers, immediately began trending on Twitter, which is where the senator defended his actions in a series of tweets.
In a tabloid-style hit piece today, NPR knowingly and irresponsibly misrepresented a speech I gave last month about the coronavirus threat.— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) March 19, 2020
Let me set the record straight. 1/
But the damage had already been done.
Senator Burr should be in prison. Full stop.— October Aeowyn (@OctoberAeowyn) March 20, 2020
Soon after the news about Burr was made public, it was reported that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) also sold stocks before the coronavirus tanked the market. According to the report, following a classified briefing about the coronavirus, Loeffler sold stock that has since plummeted and bought stock in a teleconferencing company that has since seen a small bump. Despite her knowledge and activity on the stock market, Loeffler continued to post tweets downplaying the coronavirus and assuring the American people that the economy was strong.
There's no denying that @POTUS’s economy is on fire, bringing more jobs & opportunity for all Georgians & Americans:— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) February 11, 2020
✔Wages are ⬆️
✔7.3 million jobs added since 2016
✔3.6% unemployment rate
✔Dow Jones hits record high
We can't let the Left stop this economic boom.
Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness.— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) February 28, 2020
Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe. https://t.co/DaDX5wpeUj
Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this:— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) March 10, 2020
The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.
Update following meeting with @realdonaldtrump, @VP, & @StevenMnuchin1: pic.twitter.com/H9t2D6x19k
Loeffler appeared on Fox News Friday morning and denied any wrongdoing, saying, “It’s absolutely false and it could not be true.”
For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.
Watch Jimmy Fallon’s kids adorably interrupt as he does The Tonight Show from home due to the coronavirus:
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