With markets once again plunging amid worsening coronavirus fears, CNBC editor Rick Santelli said on Thursday that maybe the world would be “better off” if everyone was given COVID-19 so that we could all get it over and go about our business.
At the top of Thursday’s live broadcast of CNBC’s The Exchange and with the Dow Jones already down over 900 points, Santelli—reporting from the CME Group’s trading floor—was asked by anchor Kelly Evans what the catalyst was for plummeting stocks and bonds.
“The catalyst? Just watch your local news,” Santelli exclaimed. “There’s your catalyst.”
“True,” Evans replied.
Acknowledging that “people are getting nervous,” Santelli reminded viewers that he was “not a doctor” before offering up his opinion on what should be done with the growing outbreak in order to settle the financial markets.
“All I know is, think about how the world would be if you tried to quarantine everybody because of the generic-type flu,” he declared. “Now I’m not saying this is the generic-type flu.”
“But maybe we’d be just better off if we gave it to everybody,” Santelli continued. “And then in a month, it would be over because the mortality rate of this probably isn’t going to be any different if we did it that way than the long-term picture, but the difference is we’re wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies.”
Following Santelli’s trading floor tirade, in which he called on the entire population to be infected with a disease that the World Health Organization currently says has a mortality rate of 3.4 percent and has already killed well over 3,000 people globally, Evans didn’t immediately address his coronavirus remarks. The anchor, however, did have a follow-up question about yield spreads.
If Santelli’s name sounds familiar it is likely due to his February 2009 rant from the CME floor that has been credited with creating the Tea Party. Railing against then-President Barack Obama’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, which was aimed at assisting homeowners in danger of losing their houses to foreclosure, Santelli fumed that the “government is promoting bad behavior.”
“President Obama, are you listening?” he shouted. “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July… All you capitalists show up to Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing.”