Ross Sorkin said, "100,000 people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend, the president"

By Robyn Merrett
May 27, 2020 08:17 PM

CNBC hosts Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen got into a heated exchange on air Wednesday — during which they argued over each of their responses to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Things between the Squawk Box anchors came to a head when Kernen, 64, accused Sorkin, 43, of overreacting to the impact the global health crisis has had on the U.S. and all over the world.

"You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about the PPE, panicked about ever going out again, panicked if we'd ever get back to normal," Kernen told Sorkin.

In response, Sorkin fired back: "Joseph, you didn't panic about anything!"

Sorkin said, "100,000 people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend, the president. That's what you did. Every single morning on this show. Every single morning on this show, you have used and abused your position, Joe. You have used and abused your position."

Kernen strongly disagreed, saying, "That is totally unfair."

"I am trying to help investors keep their cool. Keep their heads. And as it turned out, that is what they should have done," Kernen continued.

However, Sorkin quipped back again, explaining the severity of all the lives loss in the wake of the pandemic.

"I wasn't arguing to sell your stocks, Joseph. I was arguing about people's lives. I am begging you to do the news, Joseph, please."

Following their heated exchange, Squawk Box continued with their scheduled program.

A spokesperson for CNBC and reps for Sorkin and Kernen did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

As of Wednesday, there are at least 1.73 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and at least 100,000 people have died of coronavirus-related illness, according to the New York Times database.

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