Independent Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, in what can graciously be called an utterly insane performance, frustrated and flummoxed CNN anchor Anderson Cooper during a marathon Wednesday afternoon interview that featured her calling for casinos and hotels to be completely opened up—despite having no plan to do so safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goodman recently called for casinos to open, saying the ones with the most coronavirus infections can then close, adding that she assumes 100 percent of the population are already asymptomatic carriers. Kicking off the nearly 30-minute interview by insisting she didn’t actually say that, she then proceeded to argue that very point.
“I’d love everything open because I think we’ve had viruses for years that have been here,” she exclaimed after Cooper asked if she wanted casinos, hotels, and stadiums immediately opened up.
The CNN anchor, meanwhile, noted that the mayor is encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to come to Las Vegas and patronize casinos and then travel back home after breathing in circulated air and touching slot machines.
“Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish?” Cooper wondered aloud, prompting Goodman—who has called stay-at-home orders “insanity”— to call the CNN host an “alarmist.”
“I’ve lived a long life,” she added. “I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I knew what it’s like to be with subways and crammed into elevators.”
After insisting that she was actually concerned about social distancing, Goodman said that it was on the casinos and hotels to come up with a plan to enforce those guidelines when they reopened.
“That’s up to them to figure out,” Goodman bellowed.
Goodman, who actually doesn’t have any authority over the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, continued to wave off any responsibility for providing any guidelines for businesses to open up safely during the epidemic.
“I’m not a private owner of a hotel,” she cheerfully exclaimed. “I wish I were. And I would have the cleanest hotel with six feet figured out for every human being that comes in there.”
Elsewhere in the jaw-dropping interview, when Cooper attempted to show her research from Chinese scientists revealing how the virus spreads in confined spaces, Goodman interrupted to declare that “this isn’t China, this is Las Vegas.”
“Okay, that’s really ignorant,” a clearly exasperated Cooper retorted.
“That’s ignorant to say that?” Goodman laughed.
Throughout the lengthy back-and-forth, the mayor repeatedly downplayed the dangers of the virus, which has so far killed more than 45,000 Americans despite stringent nationwide mitigation efforts.
Towards the end of the chat, she even offered to volunteer her city’s population to act as a “control group” for social distancing.
After Cooper expressed shock that she wanted her city not to practice physical distancing measures during a pandemic, Goodman accused him of putting words in her mouth before doubling down on that idea.
“Excuse me. What I said was, I offered to be a controlled group, and what I was told by our state is, you can’t do that because people all from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city,” she stated. “And I said, ‘Oh, that’s too bad because when you have a disease you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar and those that actually get the shot.’ We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against.”
Cooper wrapped up the off-the-rails discussion by finally asking the mayor if she would be willing to go to one of the casinos if they were soon opened up, prompting this response: “First of all, I have a family... I don’t gamble. I used to gamble when we first came to town. I don’t have the time. I work seven days a week. I have so many things that I have to attend to. I can’t sit on a casino floor.”