"Lives are going to be lost inevitably in this, no matter what we do," Christie said, arguing there needed to be "balance"

By Sean Neumann
May 15, 2020 05:07 PM
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Whoopi Goldberg didn't waste a second in pressing Chris Christie about his position on the novel coronavirus pandemic when the former New Jersey governor appeared on The View on Friday.

Christie had argued earlier this month that states should move to reopen, with some restrictions, and that people were "gonna have to" get used to the idea of thousands of more people dying while returning to work out of financial necessity.

In Christie's view, the widespread economic toll from the shutdowns to slow the virus were too great a threat as more than 30 million people have now filed for unemployment — a source of its own grave issues.

“You upset a lot of people last week for saying that the country needs to reopen because people are going to die no matter what,” Goldberg, 64, told Christie, 57, moments after welcoming him on Friday's show.

“You compared it to lives lost during World War II, calling it a sacrifice for the American way of life," she continued. "So, I’m asking since you’re suggesting that I sacrifice, who are you sacrificing? Who are you going to give up in your family?”

"Whoopi, that's not what I said. ... Lives are going to be lost inevitably in this, no matter what we do," Christie replied.

“It’s a false choice, Whoopi," he said. "That’s what people who don’t understand what’s going on keep saying. We have 36.5 million people unemployed. We have in seven different states now the suicide rate going up.”

Whoopi Goldberg
| Credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty

At least 86,700 people in the U.S. have died from the virus, according to a New York Times tracker, and more than 1.4 million people across the country have been infected, while federal health officials warn that if states rush back to reopening their economy they risk more outbreaks.

But more and more lawmakers, including Christie and other prominent conservatives, have worried about the flip side of the social distancing strategy until treatments or a vaccine are developed — with people out of work, sinking into financial distress at home. (President Donald Trump also sees a robust economy as key to his re-election campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden.)

Some of these critics of stay-home orders have taken their positions further, saying social distancing infringes on their liberty no matter the health risks.

Christie clarified on The View that he wasn't proposing something so extreme as a complete return to normal right now, but he defended his views as well.

“We sent our young men during World War II over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing —knowing—that many of them would not come home alive,” he had said earlier this month on CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash's Daily DC podcast. "We decided to make that sacrifice, because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”

He told Goldberg on Friday: "Some Americans will make that sacrifice no matter what we do, and now we have to decide how we're going to balance this."

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
| Credit: Ron Jenkins/AP/Shutterstock

He supported businesses reopening at 50 percent capacity, with everyone wearing masks and temperature checks, he said, referring back to a Washington Post op-ed he wrote days after his podcast interview with Bash.

“The balance is that there are people who are standing on food bank lines, people who are losing their homes, people who are losing their livelihood which is leading to depression, which is leading to suicide, which is leading to addiction, which is leading to domestic violence,” Christie said on The View. “I saw all of these things happen after Hurricane Sandy, when people wound up losing their homes, losing their livelihoods — these things happen. What I’m saying is we have to balance.”

In late-April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, cautioned that states should have robust public health procedures in place in order to be able to start reopening while the virus is still spreading.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you’re going to start seeing cases crop up here and there,” he said then. “If you’re not able to handle them, you’re going to see another peak, a spike, and then you almost have to turn the clock back to go back to mitigation.”

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