On February 7, North Carolina’s own Senator Richard Burr published an op-ed on FoxNews.com. In it, Burr reassured Americans that the United States was “better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration.”
On Thursday morning, NPR released a secret recording made of Burr on February 27 at a meeting of the Tar Heel Circle, an exclusive, members-only social club that rubs elbows with the rich and powerful.
In the recording, Burr is heard telling attendees “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history…It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
Burr added that the coronavirus pandemic was likely to disrupt travel in a big way and could lead to widespread school closures and require military mobilization.
Senator Burr serves as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and is privy to information about governmental response to threats such as the coronavirus pandemic. He even helped author the federal government’s Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act.
As if reserving his deep concern about the coronavirus for an exclusive, paying audience wasn’t enough, last night ProPublica broke the news that Burr had sold off up to $1.7 million in stock less than a week after telling the public that the government had the coronavirus threat well in hand.
The stock market has declined about 30% since Burr dumped his stocks.
Senator Burr has stated he’s not going to run for reelection in 2022. That’s not good enough. An elected official who misleads the public on a deadly threat and engages in what amounts to insider trading for his own financial benefit doesn’t deserve to represent North Carolinians.
Senator Burr needs to resign now.