CNBC personalities Rick Santelli and Andrew Ross Sorkin got into a shouting match over the subject of lockdowns on Friday morning.
Santelli, who kickstarted the Tea Party movement after delivering a fiery exchange on CNBC in 2009, took issue with economy-ravaging lockdowns that target small businesses while allowing big retailers to stay open.
"You can’t tell me that shutting down, which is the easiest answer, is necessarily the only answer," Santelli argued.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, CNBC host and columnist for The New York Times, felt the need to issue a "public-service announcement" following Santelli's remarks.
“Rick, just as a public-health and public-service announcement for the audience, the difference between a big-box retailer ... and a restaurant or frankly even a church are so different it's unbelievable," Sorkin asserted.
"I disagree," Santelli shouted back. "You can have your thoughts and I can have mine."
"It's science. I'm sorry. It's science," Sorkin claimed, causing Santelli to shout even louder.
“It’s not science!" Santelli exploded. "Five-hundred people in a Lowe’s aren’t any safer than 150 people in a restaurant that holds 600. I don't believe it! Sorry, don't believe it, and I live in an area where there's a lot of restaurants that have fought back and they don't have any problems."
Sorkin accused Santelli of doing a "disservice" to the viewers, but Santelli said Sorkin was the one committing the disservice.
"I think our viewers are smart enough to make part of those decisions on their own," Santelli quipped. "I don't think I'm much smarter than all the viewers like some people do."
During a live appearance on CNBC in February 2009, Santelli delivered impromptu remarks from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. Santelli railed against the federal government’s bailout of the housing market and called upon Americans to hold a modern-day Tea Party, which led to the formation of the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States.
Maybe Santelli can help kickstart a national anti-lockdown movement for us next.