US Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday said a nationwide coronavirus lockdown would amount to the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” besides slavery in US history, according to a CNN report.
Barr reportedly made the remarks during a speech at Hillsdale College in celebration of Constitution Day in response to a question about the “constitutional hurdles” of banning church gatherings during the pandemic.
“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said.
As health experts have championed the measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Barr, a staunch defender of President Trump, has slammed stay-at-home orders as “draconian.”
His comments Wednesday referencing slavery came after public health data has shown African Americans to be at a higher risk for catching the coronavirus. African Americans are more likely to be essential workers and are more likely to have preexisting health conditions due to systemic challenges.
Barr went on to slam governors who have imposed stay-at-home orders even as states like New York effectively used them to cut down on infections, CNN reported.
“Most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they … defy common sense,” Barr said. “They treat free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”
“We have to give business people an opportunity,” he added, “tell them what the rules are you know the masks, which rule of masks, you had this month … and then let them try to adapt their business to that and you’ll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living.”
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