US Attorney General Bill Barr has made waves by calling stay-at-home orders and lockdowns meant to combat the spread of Covid-19 “the greatest intrusion of civil liberties” other than slavery.
Barr’s comments came while speaking at a Constitution Day event held in DC by Hillsdale College. Asked about coronavirus restrictions “forbidding a church from meeting” in many areas, the attorney general compared lockdowns to “house arrest.”
“Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said.
Attorney General Bill Barr says, other than slavery, coronavirus stay-at-home orders are the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”pic.twitter.com/OUdGn40B3J
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 17, 2020
Once his comments were shared more widely, few found legitimacy in the comparison.
“Bill Barr equates quarantine with chattel slavery as one of the greatest intrusions of civil liberties in American history. Statements like these make you realize many in this country know nothing about what it truly means to be oppressed,” ‘The View’ co-host Sunny Hostin tweeted in reaction to the comment. Another person criticized the remarks by simply saying, “What a disgrace.”
“The thing about Bill Barr’s comments is that he knows better. Which is what makes them a whole lot worse,” CNN political correspondent Abby D. Pillip added.
“How about WW2 Japanese Internment camps? Jim Crow laws? segregation? Tuskegee Syphilis experiments?” another commenter tweeted, while Star Trek actor George Takei posted: “As someone who spent four years in U.S. internment camps during World War II, I think Bill Barr is full of horse manure.”
Bill Barr says temporary stay-at-home orders, all of which just require a good reason to be out in public during a COVID spike, are the most severe intrusion into civil liberties ever — “except maybe slavery.” What an obscene comparison. Only an evil fool could talk that way.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 17, 2020
Bill Barr compared a COVID-19 lock down to slavery, and I’d love to see how he would’ve handled picking cotton all day long,