Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Monday that the American economy needs to reopen quickly and that tens of thousands of more Americans may die from the novel coronavirus, insisting that Americans are “gonna have to” accept that.
Speaking to CNN correspondent Dana Bash on her The Daily DC podcast, Christie—who now works as an ABC News contributor—pushed for the reversal of stay-at-home orders in order to open up businesses and ramp up economic activity.
Confronted with recent models that now show that as many as 135,000 Americans will die due to decreased social distancing amid the pandemic, Christie essentially threw up his hands and said there really wasn’t a choice.
“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can—but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” Christie said. “Are there ways that we can thread the middle here to allow that there are going to be deaths, and there are going to be deaths no matter what?”
Echoing previous comments he’s made that the country cannot wait to reopen the economy, the former Trump transition team member asserted that “we’re going to destroy the American way of life” if people don’t immediately get back to work.
Bash then asked the ex-governor if the public could accept reopening following reports that a White House model is now projecting a daily death toll of 3,000 by June 1.
“They’re gonna have to,” Christie bluntly replied. “We’re in the midst of a pandemic that we haven’t seen in over 100 years. And we’re going to have to continue to do things.”
Asked how he would tell the American public about the need to reopen if he were the president, Christie responded: “The message is that the American people have gone through significant death before.”
“We sent our young men during World War II over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing, knowing that many of them would not come home alive,” he said. “And we decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”
About half the states have begun to reopen public spaces and their economies in recent days despite cases growing in many areas and the confirmed U.S. death count from coronavirus approaching 70,000. President Donald Trump, who has called for states to “LIBERATE,” casually conceded during a Sunday Fox News town hall that the final death toll could reach 100,000 after claiming just a few weeks ago that it would be half that number.