GOP senator says people are 'enjoying' pandemic because they 'hate America'

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Sen. John Kennedy told people who want to keep schools closed to kiss his ass.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) claimed on Monday that many people only want to keep schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic for political gain.

"America's going through a rough patch right now," Kennedy told Fox News. "Some people seem to be enjoying it. Maybe they just hate America. Maybe they just enjoy watching the world burn. I think some are liking the chaos because they think it gives them a political advantage."

Kennedy argued that schools need to be reopened fully because "for many of our kids, keeping these schools closed is gonna hurt them far worse than the coronavirus can." He listed a number of countries that already reopened schools and suggested that America can do so as well.

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He did not mention that those countries have far fewer COVID-19 cases than the United States does.

Kennedy said that some people who disagree with him are sincere, but charged, "There are some people who want to keep our schools closed because they think it gives them a political advantage, and they're using our kids as political pawns. And to them, I say, unashamedly, they can kiss my ass."

"A pox on their houses," he said, claiming that there are "cynical people who are using this for political fodder" and that "have no soul."

Kennedy's office did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

While some school systems abroad have reopened, in some places they have also had to close again due to new outbreaks.

More than 175 Americans under the age of 25 have died so far from the coronavirus and at least 186 children across 26 states have have been diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition linked to the virus. The medical community is still evaluating the long-term damage that can be done by the virus, even in mild cases, in recovered COVID-19 patients.

America's schools employ millions of teachers, custodians, administrators, bus drivers, substitute teachers, nurses, and other adult staff. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in four teachers has a condition that puts them at elevated risk of serious illness if they are infected.

While the Trump administration has pushed for every school to reopen fully, school systems around the nation are struggling to figure out whether it is possible to do so safely. The CDC has issued guidelines, but Donald Trump has called them too "tough and expensive" to be practical.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Sunday that there was "no way" for all schools to safely reopen without massive new funding "for retrofitting, for ventilation systems, but also for buying the damned masks for the cleaning equipment, for the nurses that we're going to need."

The results of a new Axios/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday showed 71% of American parents are worried about sending kids back to school due to the pandemic.

This is not the first time Kennedy has pushed to reopen America regardless of safety.

In March, he falsely claimed that just a "small segment" of the population is at risk from COVID-19.

In April, he suggested that stay-at-home orders had "waterboarded" the nation's economy and should be lifted. "The coronavirus can kill you, but so can poverty," he argued.

That same month, Kennedy said the American people wanted the country to reopen regardless of the costs. "The American people get it: We gotta reopen, and when we do, the coronavirus is gonna spread faster, and we gotta be ready."

In May, Kennedy argued that safety rules should be eliminated because people will ignore them anyway. "We can't sustain this," he said. "Number one, the economy will collapse. And number two, at least the people in my state are just gonna stop complying."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.