GOP senator dismisses virus deaths: It 'can kill you, but so can poverty'


Sen. John Kennedy has previously downplayed the health risks of the coronavirus pandemic, saying they are a lower priority than the U.S. economy.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said on Wednesday that the COVID-19 epidemic amounted to the U.S. economy being "waterboarded."

In recent weeks, Kennedy has suggested that the economy was a bigger concern than the threat to public health brought on by the coronavirus.

On March 23, he told Fox News — incorrectly — that the virus was only deadly "for a small segment of our population" and that "poverty, hunger, [and] losing the entire economy" were also deadly.

Since that time, his home state has become a major coronavirus hotspot. As of Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 18,000 COVID-19 total cases reported in the state and more than 700 deaths.

From his Fox News interview with host Shannon Bream:

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Now, I understand politics, Shannon. I've been around it my whole life. But it's time to think about the American people and the next generation, not the next election. We've got to get this economy back on its feet.


The coronavirus can kill you, but so can poverty, and we have waterboarded the American economy, and we gotta stand it back up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.