A shocking secret recording has revealed that weeks before President Trump and GOP members publicly acknowledged the true danger of the coronavirus, Republican Sen. Richard Burr was caught warning members of a private Washington club about how threatening it was.
The powerful North Carolina Republican is also the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
NPR recently broadcast a copy of the February 27 recording, in which Burr can be heard speaking to members of the Tar Heel Circle, a small group of the private North Carolina Society Club in DC. Members pay up to $10,000 to hear directly from the state’s congressional delegation, “current executive branch officials,” and from other NC business professionals.
An attendee at the event “became alarmed about Burr’s dire warnings” and decided to record, says NPR reporter Tim Mak.
Burr reportedly states in the recording, “There’s one thing I can tell you about this… 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.”
Burr continued, “Every company should be cognizant of the fact that you may have to alter your travel… You may have to look at your employees and judge whether the trip they’re making to Europe is essential or whether it could be done on video conference. Why risk it?”
Mak reports that on the very same day Burr was making these ominous remarks, President Donald Trump was telling Americans about coronavirus: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear … it could get worse before it gets better.” Wow.
In a series of tweets, Burr confirmed that he had spoken to the members of the club on that night, but accused NPR of “journalistic malpractice.”
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/
Burr said in another tweet, “Like most members of Congress, I address our state society every year. That a good thing. That’s what we should be doing. Meeting constituents and talking to them about the work we’re doing in D.C. is an important part of our job, especially in times of uncertainty.”
Burr’s office confirmed the recording but urged Americans to follow precautions set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.
Communications director Caitlin Carroll said, “Senator Burr has been banging the drum about the importance of public health preparedness for more than 20 years… His message has always been, and continues to be, that we must be prepared to protect American lives in the event of a pandemic or bio-attack.”
Carroll said Burr has “worked to educate the public about the tools and resources our government has to confront the spread of coronavirus. At the same time, he has urged public officials to fully utilize every tool at their disposal in this effort.”
In a February 7 op-ed for Fox News, Burr and Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander stated: “Americans are rightfully concerned about the coronavirus” since at that time the cases in China were climbing by the day.
The senators wrote, “Thankfully, the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration.”
Would that statement turn out to be true?? Fast forward several weeks as the virus started to spread and we saw the devastation and chaos in Italy as they were overwhelmed. It became very clear to the people of the US that the US government had failed to react quickly enough or aggressively enough and that the healthcare system was, in fact, on track to be overwhelmed if the worst case scenarios came to fruition.
Some US hospitals are now already facing shortages of critical supplies like protective masks and we KNOW the US is far lacking in the amount of ventilators it would need in the bleakest models of how this plays out.
Trump took weeks change his tone and rhetoric on the coronavirus. He has accused Dems of using the virus to try to take him down, he has incorrectly compared it to the flu or a cold, and of course he claimed we would see a miracle and it would just disappear. Yeah. Because that’s how science works.
Finally, on March 13, Trump began speaking differently, finally calling the coronavirus a “pandemic” and began holding daily briefings with varied government officials. Will Trump continue to heed advice from experts or will he go rogue once more and lead the country down a dangerous path of business as usual for his own gain?