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Andrew Ross Sorkin, Joe Kernen Get Into Heated On-Air Argument Over Coronavirus, Trump

Andrew Ross Sorkin, Joe Kernen Get Into Heated On-Air Argument Over Coronavirus, Trump

The coronavirus stress may have gotten to Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen on CNBC’s "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. In many ways, the argument between Sorkin and Kernen reflects nationwide polarization over just how aggressive the U.S. should have been in combating COVID-19.

What Happened

The argument broke out after Kernen suggested Sorkin has been overly pessimistic about COVID-19.

"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," Kernan said.

Sorkin Fires Back

Sorkin responded by accusing Kernen of dismissing death tolls and risks associated with the coronavirus due to his allegiance to President Donald Trump.

“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 you have used and abused your position, Joe,” Sorkin said.

Kernen previously worked for 10 years as a stockbroker before joining CNBC in 1995. Sorkin is a financial columnist for the New York Times, author of the book “Too Big To Fail” and co-creator of the Showtime series “Billions.”

“That’s totally unfair,” Kernen said in response to Sorkin’s accusations. “I’m trying to help investors keep their cool, keep their heads. And as it turns out, that’s what they should have done.”

Benzinga’s Take

It’s possible that both Sorkin and Kernen’s arguments were valid, but they were addressing two different matters.

Kernen is correct in that investors who didn’t panic have made huge profits given the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is up 34.2% since March 23. However, the COVID-19 US death toll is over 100,000 at this point, so the virus was and is certainly worth taking seriously.

Do you agree with this take? Email with your thoughts.

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