Bernie Sanders fireside chat - 14 March 2020
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- 1 Introductory remarks
- 2 How has the pandemic caused you to think about policy issues affecting the nation?
- 3 What issues are you going to debate on Sunday?
- 4 What kind of effect will the coronavirus have on people that are homeless and sleeping outside?
- 5 Do you think the government is not doing enough when handling the coronavirus epidemic?
- 6 How can I convince my parents, who don't feel the urgency that I do, that this crisis is just a taste of what will happen in my lifetime if we don't enact Medicare for All, humane foreign policy and a Green New Deal?
- 7 What are your thoughts about upcoming coronavirus legislation?
- 8 What would you say to corporations forcing immunocompromised employees to work directly with the public, putting their health at risk?
- 9 Closing remarks
15:05 FAIZ SHAKIR: Hello everybody, Faiz Shakir here, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, sitting next to Senator Bernie Sanders, in the home of Senator Bernie Sanders. Around the corner somewhere is Jane Sanders. We are live from Burlington for our inaugural fireside chat. Senator, there's a great debate online about whether this is a furnace or a stove, what is this?
BERNIE SANDERS: Why are you asking me a hard question? It's an old stove, and it really is amazingly efficient, it really warms up the whole house. And right now spring is coming to Vermont, but it's still nippy out there so it's nice to have a fire.
SHAKIR: It feels toasty. Everybody, thank you for all your efforts out there. We are working hard for this nomination. We're a little bit behind in the delegate count but we are every day working to catch up and today actually in fact we won Northern Mariana Islands, thank you to the team out there.
Soon there will be votes, on Tuesday we expect, pending public health officials, we're going to have some votes in Arizona, Illinois, Ohio and Florida. As so for those of you who live in those states, we'd ask you to wash your hands, if you're feeling healthy, wash your hands and go vote, and wash your hands again. We'll need you. So thank you for everything you're doing. We also have a debate coming up tomorrow night which we'll talk about in a moment.
But before we get to those I just wanted to talk about the coronavirus outbreak. It's obviously been on the top of all of our minds, top of your minds, the Senator has spoken about it almost every single day over the past few days. We're going to be talking about that in a moment. It has affected our campaign. We have moved to a completely remote operation. We don't have offices because we have deemed them to be a public health risk for our own staff. We're heeding the public health experts on this, so we've moved away from field offices and headquarter offices and everyone's working remotely.
But this campaign, more so than any campaign, potentially, in Presidential history, is best suited and prepared for this kind of a campaign. We have architected ourselves with strength in our digital organizing capacities, and obviously through social media and our live streaming capacities here, we are going to flex every muscle we've got on this campaign to make sure that we are communicating with voters on a frequent basis, and we're going to be innovating. In fact Monday night I think we'll be doing hopefully a rally with some bands providing entertainment to make sure people are engaged as they are sitting at home thinking about not spreading the coronavirus.
How has the pandemic caused you to think about policy issues affecting the nation?
17:41 SHAKIR: Senator that's the way I'll tee it up for you, Senator, is that you had some remarks the other day that struck all of us. Which is that we're in the period of social distancing, what they call social isolation, and people are sitting apart and yet, more so than ever before this pandemic has reminded that we're all in it together. And I wonder if you would reflect on how this has caused you, in our campaign, to think about the policy issues that affect this nation.
SANDERS: Thanks very much, Faiz. We are in an unprecedented moment in American and world history. I have never seen anything like this in my life, nor has anybody else out there. And it seems to me that what we have got to focus on now is how we deal with the short term crises that we are facing, which are very very severe, what we learn from these crises in order to prepare ourselves for the future, in terms of understanding how we got here and where we want to go differently in terms of, at least, health care and the economy.
I think what is clear right now is that despite the fact we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the people of any other nation, it is astounding how unprepared we are as a nation to deal with this crisis. And obviously this deals with Trump and the pathetic nature of his administration, but it does go beyond that. The idea right now that we do not have enough test kits available, that we do not have the latest methodology in terms of processing the results, the idea that there are millions of people out there who would like to get tested and don't know where they can go to get the tests.
The idea that we are failing from a primary health care point of view where people can't gain access to a doctor, in many parts of this country, even if they have insurance. The idea that 87 million of us are uninsured or under insured, and there are people actually out there, maybe watching this event right now, who are saying you know 'I don't feel well, I may have the symptoms of the coronavirus. I can't afford to go to the doctor, or if I do go to the doctor and I get tested and I'm found positive, you know what I can't afford the treatment'. Take a step back, how insane is that.
So I think what people are now understanding is that the function of a rational and humane health care system, not just in a crisis like today but in general, must be to provide quality care to all, be prepared for epidemics - and let us be frank this is not going to be the last epidemic facing this country. That the function is to take care of people not to make huge profits for the insurance companies and the drug companies.
I want to tell you something, Faiz. What my perception is, is that more and more people as a result of this crisis see the dysfunctionality and the stupidity and the irrationality of the current system, that's number one. And then you've got the drug companies out there, there are reports out there that drug companies are now trying to figure out ways they can make huge profits out of this terrible crisis. And some of these drug companies have received significant amounts of federal funding. So the taxpayers of this country are providing substantial funds to the pharmaceutical industry and the pharmaceutical industry is saying 'ah, how can I profit from this crisis'?
And our response of course is, you're not going to profit from this crisis. You are going to charge, you are going to make sure that we have the best medicine available, as quickly as possible, and guess what, you're not going to charge a nickel for that, because that is, our function is to take care of the people, not to take care of your profits. And that has to do of course with this crisis, but right now, even before this crisis, when we are paying in this country 10 times more for insulin as are people in Canada and other countries, that is totally unacceptable, we're going to deal with that.
But the main point that I wanted to make tonight is that when we look at the measures that we need to deal with this crisis - so that means social distancing, it means that millions of people are going to be staying home rather than going into work. It means that schools are closing, child care centers are closing. It means that the aviation industry, transportation in general, is going to see a lot less utilization than in the past. Restaurants are going to be seeing many fewer people coming in there.
What does this mean for the ordinary person, let's take a step, what does it mean. So you are a waiter or a waitress, OK, business is cut in half. What are you supposed to do right now? Your mortgage bill is coming due, or your rent bill is coming due. Maybe you have an illness and you have to buy your prescription drugs, maybe your kid is sick from any other illness, you've got to go to the doctor. Maybe you owe, you have to make your monthly payments on your credit card. What happens if your income goes down? This is impacting millions and millions of people.
So it is clear to me that what our policies must be, unlike the Wall Street bailout of 2008, our focus must be on the needs of ordinary people and not just large corporations and the oil industry. Trump was quick to try to bail out the oil industry by requiring the government to purchase more oil for the oil reserve, which may or may not make sense. But clearly our focus has got to be on the needs of ordinary people who are going to see a significant decline in their incomes while they still have to pay the bills.
So what does that mean? It means that in this unprecedented moment, and we are in an unprecedented moment from a health care point of view and from an economic point of view. From a health care perspective the answer is fairly obvious - we've got to do what every other major country on Earth does and do it right now. Now everybody knows I'm an advocate for a Medicare for All system. We're not going to pass it in Congress certainly with Republicans running the Senate and Trump as President.
But at the moment I would hope that everybody in the government understands that in the midst of this crisis it is insane to be suggesting that people can not afford to get the testing that they need, and that it is equally insane that they may not be able to afford the treatment that they need. That is just not what this country can - or must - be about. So right now we've got to put together, in an emergency if you like, Medicare for All system, guaranteeing health care to all people in the midst of this crisis, end of discussion. That's what we need, that's the human thing to do, that's the right thing to do.
Then in terms of how this impacts the economy, is that we need to make sure that every person in this country who are suffering from no fault of their own - nobody caused this coronavirus which is sweeping the world - and we want to do everything we can to protect ordinary people. What does that mean? It means that we have got to make certain that people continue to have the income that they previously had. That means you extend and expand unemployment benefits to cover everybody, and a lot of people in this country are not covered by unemployment benefits, but they are going to lose their jobs. They need income and that income has got to be 100% of what they previously received.
It means that we have to make certain that people do not see their credit scores go way way up because they're late in paying their credit card bills. They're not getting foreclosed because they can't afford to pay their mortgages. So we have to make sure that people are not penalized, and what could be permanently - if your credit scores do up it's going to impact your credit rating...
SHAKIR: Or down, in this case.
SANDERS: Down, right, the numbers go down in this case. It's going to impact your future economic life. So bottom line is, that in an unprecedented health care and economic crisis we have got to respond through our governments - state, local and federal most importantly - in an unprecedented way to protect the working people of this country.
And let's not forget for one moment, which we all can do, that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. That we have two million people behind bars tonight, what's happening to them and their families? That we have half a million people sleeping out on the streets, and then we have people under enormous economic stress. And now is the time for the federal government to say, 'you didn't cause this crisis, it's not because you're lazy, not because you're drinking too much, this is because of a terrible illness which is sweeping the world and we are going to protect you, not just the rich and large corporations'.
27:27 SHAKIR: It's certainly true that the pandemic is enlightening people, I think across the nation, about the need for all of us to be in this together. You would argue, and I've heard you say at times, that this should be a moment for us to learn the lessons of transforming our health care and economic systems so we don't revisit these kinds of problems again. We are going to have epidemics, these kinds of pandemics, in an era of climate change we worry that these kinds of things may happen more frequently. The only way to deal with them is not episodically but rather transformationally.
SANDERS: Right. I mean if you had a rational health care system, people throughout the country would not be worrying about whether or not they can afford the test or the treatment. If you had a rational health care system we'd have far more doctors than we have right now. You would not have hospitals in many parts of this country, in rural America, closing down. I worry very much. In Boston, you know maybe the most sophisticated medical city in America, people are having a difficult time finding a way to get their treatment. What happens if you are in the middle of a rural area where there is not a hospital 100 miles near where you are? That why we need a rational health care system designed to provide health care to all and not huge profits for the drug companies and the insurance companies. And by the way, this crisis is making people more than aware of that.
And then you go to another issue, this is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. We don't even produce the face masks that we need right now, medical masks that we need. We're not producing the rubber gloves that doctors and others need. We're not producing the ICU units that we need, the ventilators that we need. We don't have enough doctors and nurses and medical personnel. God knows we have more than enough people to tell us that we're late in paying our insurance bills, or that we didn't get covered for what we thought we paid for. But we don't have enough doctors, what does that say about the system?
What issues are you going to debate on Sunday?
29:28 SHAKIR: We would like to encourage you to submit your questions, our social media team is standing by so please make sure to employ social media, tweet them. We'd like to see some of your questions. And before we get to them, maybe one Senator that I'll tee up for you that I'm sure is on the minds of a lot of people, which is you're going to have a debate, the first one-on-one debate, with Joe Biden tomorrow night. What are some of the issue that you're hoping will come up in the course of that debate, what is it that you want...
SANDERS: Well I'm looking forward to this debate for a number of reasons. Not the least of which it's a two person debate, I have a real problem and I think many Americans do with debates that turn into food fights. When you have seven, eight people up there or more, yelling and screaming and trying to get the sound bite of the night that the media will pick up on. I think in a two hour debate with two people we can explore some of the real issues facing this country.
And you know some of the issues that come to mind in terms of what I will be pushing tomorrow night - whether or not the moderators I should tell you are interested in these issues, these are the issues I will be pushing. It's a little bit what we've talked about right now, how does it happen that in the richest country in the history of the world, half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck when the very very rich are seeing a huge increase in their wealth.
Now we don't talk about it in Congress, we don't talk about it in the media, but I'm going to ask Joe Biden. You know Joe Biden has been part of the establishment for a very very long time. 'Joe what role have you played in trying to make sure that we end this massive level of income and wealth inequality where three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?' To me that is obscene. We don't talk about it on the media, that's for sure. We don't talk about it in Congress. But when you talk about instability in a nation, how do you have stability when so few have so much and so many are in desperate economic shape.
Then we've got to talk about our national priorities, and my question will be to Joe, 'will you continue to support tens and tens of billions of dollars a year in tax breaks and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, when the scientists are telling us that it is fossil fuel which is destroying - through climate change - our country and the entire world? What ideas do you have?' I believe in a Green New Deal, I believe that we can create up to 20 million jobs transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, moving to energy efficiency and sustainable energies. 'What do you think? Is there really a moderate approach when the scientists are telling us we need drastic action now if we're going to save the planet.'
In terms of other issues out there, Joe Biden is a friend of mine and a very decent person. Joe has received campaign contributions from at least 60 billionaires. He has a Super-PAC. There are other Super-PACs out there that are attacking us every single day, coming from the health care industry and coming from the Wall Street end of the Democratic Party. 'Joe do you really think you are going to gain the confidence of the American people, the excitement that you need in order to defeat Trump who is clearly the most dangerous President in modern American history. Are people going to believe that's you're going to stand with the working families of this country when you are so dependent for your funding on billionaires and Super-PACs that are funded in undisclosed ways by the wealthiest people in this country?'
My question to Joe Biden will be 'Joe, you've got 45 million people dealing with student debt today. You voted for the Wall Street bailout. Are you going to vote to bailout the tens of millions of people now who are struggling with student debt? Are you supportive of our efforts to make public colleges and universities tuition free? Are you supportive of our efforts to - in a very significant way - move forward with a wealth tax, and progressive taxation in this country, so that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes? What are we going to do about mass incarceration in America, and the racism that exists in our criminal justice system? What are we going to do about a totally broken immigration system, and the need to end the terror that communities all over this country are experiencing when undocumented people are seeing raids coming from ICE and other federal agencies?'
So there's a lot to be discussed, but what I am going to do tomorrow… look I've been, I think correct me if I'm wrong, is this the tenth debate that we're having?
SANDERS: Eleventh debate. So I've been to a lot of these, and I was through debates in 2016, and you know the question that the media asks are always relevant questions, they're important but they're not the most important questions. And tomorrow, with just two people, I'm going to demand that we discuss the most important questions, which have a lot to do with power structure in America.
You know I've finally got a phrase that will never appear in the media, what does it mean power structure? Who has the power? What does it mean when a handful of billionaires can exert enormous power over the political process in this country? And we're seeing it today, in this campaign.
What does it mean when a handful of billionaires can determine whether jobs stay here in America or whether they go to China or Mexico, or to countries where people are working for starvation wages. We've got to talk about that. And if we don't want an economy and a government controlled by the few, what is the process by which we create a really democratic – and I use that with a small d – a democratic society?
What role should workers be able to play? If you work for a large corporation are you nothing more than a cog in a machine? Or should workers in the unions have representation on the boards of directors of these large corporations?
So there's a lot to be discussed and I think, for the first time actually, in a two person discussion, over a two hour period, we could really begin to talk not only about the coronavirus which we must, about the crisis facing our economy today which we must talk about, but also how we got to where we are and where we want to go.
What kind of effect will the coronavirus have on people that are homeless and sleeping outside?
35:46 SHAKIR: I hope you all tune in, it will be on CNN tomorrow night at 8 o'clock. I'm sure it will be streamed online as well, so please be sure to check that out. Please submit your questions, we're taking them. Senator I'll throw the first one to you from a gentleman named Rob L. Rob asks what kind of effect will the coronavirus have on people that are homeless and sleeping outside.
SANDERS: Thank you very much for that question, Rob. And all of us are going to start thinking about these things. If you are homeless, if you are dealing with a mental illness, if you are dealing with an addiction, what's going to happen to you? Are you going to get the nutrition, the food that you need? If you get sick how do you access the health care that you need?
So what Rob is talking about are what happens to the most vulnerable – I'm not just talking about working people in general, people losing their jobs, that is a major crisis. He's talking about the most vulnerable, and you can go right now into prisons and think about that.
SANDERS: Undocumented people, people in detention centers, right now you turn on the TV it says if you are a senior, if you're old, stay home. OK, well if I stay home as a senior, how do I get the food that I need, who's going to help me get the medicine that I need, who's going to help me change my bed if I'm unable to do that, how do I do that?
So I want to thank Rob for asking that question and it's one that we must all deal with, and it means to say that we have to make sure that everybody in this country has the health care, the nutrition, the housing, the basic needs that are required for us to survive.
And it gets back to the point that I think you made, Faiz, that in this moment what we must see ourselves as a nation which comes together that cares for each other including the most vulnerable. That is, history will judge us if we are a greedy pharmaceutical industry who thinks you can profit off of this moment, history will judge us and I will do everything I can as a United States senator to prevent that from happening. But this is the moment when people said OK how do we work together, together, to make sure that the most vulnerable, to make sure the middle class, working families, our children, you know kids turn on the TV, they're scared, they're not going to school right now. How do we make sure that they get the protection, emotional protection that they need to do well in this crisis?
Do you think the government is not doing enough when handling the coronavirus epidemic?
38:34 SHAKIR: It's a test of our values, and a test of what the proper role of a government should be in protecting people. Here's a couple of questions that came out, I'll lump them together because they're similar. From Lily, thank you Lily for your question, do you think the government is not doing enough in handling this coronavirus epidemic, so maybe think about Trump and his response here, and then the same question is from coloredpencils01, how can I convince my parents that this crisis – he says...
SANDERS: Can we take one at a time?
SANDERS: I'll just start out with Trump and the answer is, I don't want to waste any time talking about Trump, everybody in the world knows my views on Trump. But clearly he will have to bear responsibility for trying to diminish and minimize the impact of this crisis. What an honest leader does is say to the American people, Angela Merkel did this in Germany, 'look, we've got a crisis'. She estimated that in Germany, I don't know if she's right or not, some 70% of the people might be infected. That might be high, it might not.
But you've got to level with the people. And this is a guy who is trying to diminish it, making absurd remarks which the scientists, the people at the CDC and the NIH are cringing at. You can't be a president and just go talking off the top of your head, especially when you don't know anything.
So we are behind the eight ball, we should have moved more aggressively and right now, as I've mentioned, I worry – again nobody knows what's going to happen – but I think you've got to look at the worst case scenario. Are our hospitals prepared to deal with the huge influx of patients? Are our emergency rooms? I'll tell you the truth, I've been in emergency rooms where it takes you three hours to get – you know, you break your hand, it takes you three hours to get care. And what happens in the midst of an epidemic?
And that's what we've got to be planning for. But right now what we do know is there are certainly not enough ICU units, no one thinks that. Is the government now making certain – and by the way the government must take responsibility and tell manufacturers or whoever it is that's making these ICU units – 'you know what, you are going to do it, and don't tell me about your profits. We will support you, we will help you, but you've got to produce these things, you've got to produce the ventilators'.
We've got to be thinking about how we have the medical staff, we don't have enough doctors, that means maybe using interns, residents, people working under supervision, bringing retirees, retired nurses back into the operation. So the answer to the question is no, of course Trump and his administration have not done what they should have to prepare us for this crisis.
SHAKIR: The second question Senator - I'm told by the way that we have 100,000 people watching online, so this campaigning in the era of coronavirus, I appreciate that this is building up our interconnectedness of what this movement...
SANDERS: I appreciate, you know Faiz, as everybody knows, I love doing rallies. We have had unbelievably moving town meetings all over this country, but we can't do that now so we're going to have to figure out a way to substitute that for this campaign. And if we have 100,000 people already on, is exciting.
How can I convince my parents, who don't feel the urgency that I do, that this crisis is just a taste of what will happen in my lifetime if we don't enact Medicare for All, humane foreign policy and a Green New Deal?
42:00 SHAKIR: The question from colorpencils01 I referred to earlier is 'how can I convince my parents who don't feel the urgency I do that this crisis is just a taste of what will happen if we don't enact Medicare for All, humane foreign policy and a Green New Deal'. So I guess the question is how do we convince others, how do we use this moment to educate those who may not already be there?
SANDERS: I'm not a psychiatrist, but I think it is fair to say that human nature kind of shies away from looking at terrible things. Who wants to look at terrible things, who wants that? And it's so easy to say, 'yeah some people are getting sick, this is not that serious' is the problem. The answer is this is a very very serious problem, that's not me, that's what the doctors are saying, that's what the scientists are saying. And we have to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease.
But you know what? Climate change is also a very very terrible problem and we're seeing, well let's now talk about climate change, let's not just focus on the coronavirus. But what again the leading scientists in the world are telling us is that we have a limited amount of time to act aggressively, aggressively, so a Green New Deal in my view, to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. And we cannot let the greed of the fossil fuel industry decide what kind of planet we leave to our kids and future generations.
So we are in a difficult moment, we are in a difficult moment regarding democracy. I mean, you know, we have a president who believes in autocracy not in democracy, we have Republican governors all over the country who are trying to suppress the vote. We have elections – just recently and in this whole primary process, what was it in, in North Dakota, in Fargo North Dakota there were pictures of people in 23 degree weather who were waiting in line for hours to vote. Do you really have to wait hours to vote in the cold in the United States of America? Can't we do a little bit better than that? In Michigan there were very long lines, people gave up.
So we've got, to answer your question, we are facing a series of very very significant crises, and we need unprecedented action right now in order to protect our democracy, to protect our planet, to protect the health of our people.
What are your thoughts about upcoming coronavirus legislation?
44:30 SHAKIR: There's been a few questions, and I'll just lump them all together Senator, about the House has taken some action of a coronavirus piece of legislation that will be, I think, coming over to the Senate. You'll be returning next week to vote on it, and people were looking for what are your reactions and thoughts to that.
SANDERS: My impression is that Nancy Pelosi and the House leadership made a good faith effort to try to do some very important things. I myself would have gone further but they made that effort, but they ran into opposition from the Trump administration, so they had to water down what they ended up passing in the House, what I suspect we will be voting on in the Senate.
Among other things is, I gather, that unemployment benefits will be expanded and extended but not for everybody. Well, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. If you lose your job you should have unemployment benefits. My understanding is that what they have said is that you will have paid sick leave, but only for companies under, I believe, it's a half a million...
SHAKIR: 500 employees.
SANDERS: 500 workers, right, 500 workers. And that means that companies like McDonalds where you have a lot of low wage workers, Burger King, Amazon, Walmart, will not be guaranteeing sick leave to their workers, and these are workers who desperately need that. So that seems to me to be very much inadequate.
I understand that the bill will pay - or demands that the insurance companies pay - for the testing, but not for the treatment. So what does that mean. I go in and I get tested, I'm positive, and it's going to cost me thousands and thousands of dollars to get treated, but I don't have the resources to get the treatment.
So there are clear deficiencies and I should tell you all that right now our Senate staff will be working on legislation to fill those gaps, legislation that make's sure that all of our people will be able to get the health care and the treatment that they need regardless of their income, and that we will do everything possible to make sure that people get the financial assistance they need in the midst of this economic crisis, so they are not permanently harmed, that they will be able to maintain their standard of living.
SHAKIR: This fire's low, do we need to add more wood or is this OK?
SANDERS: That's fine, there is the bar...
SHAKIR: I don't know anything about fires. Senator, this is another element of this coronavirus issue that we're dealing with, maybe we'll take one or two more here and then we'll wrap it up, but one of the questions is about how you will protect gig workers, independent contractors and restaurant workers in these... and you're actually talking about groups of people who are for the most part non-unionized or they don't have benefits or protections...
SANDERS: They're often not eligible for unemployment, as well.
SHAKIR: That's right.
SANDERS: Alright, so what we are talking about is, as we have always talked about, especially at this unprecedented moment, is the universality of the program. So unemployment benefits should extend to everybody, it doesn't matter what the status of the work you're doing, you know. So you're driving an Uber car, or you're working in a factory, what's the difference? You have basic human needs and you've got to be covered, and that is the same for health care. So what we are talking about is bringing forth legislation that will be universal, that will cover all Americans in every aspect of this crisis.
What would you say to corporations forcing immunocompromised employees to work directly with the public, putting their health at risk?
48:39 SHAKIR: Maybe we'll wrap here and then you can offer some closing remarks after this question. I like this one here from Kelly, thank you Kelly for your question. Senator, what would you say to corporations that are forcing compromised employees, sick employees, to work, putting their health and public health at risk.
SANDERS: It is unspeakable, it is so crazy. And that speaks to a whole other issue that we have to deal with long term, is the extent of corporate irresponsibility and greed in this country. And what we have seen in recent years is record breaking corporate profits while the average worker last year made less than 1% increase in his or her wages.
And in terms of this question, CEOs what are you thinking about? You are endangering yourselves. It goes without saying, I mean if there has ever been a no-brainer, people who are sick, who may have the virus, should not be going to work and spreading the illness, the disease. I would hope that every person in America understands that including the heads of large corporations.
And why we need to make sure that all of those workers who stay home are fully compensated is because if they are not, if somebody says you know 'I shouldn't go to work, I don't feel well, I don't want to endanger anybody else, but you know what I need that paycheck, how do I feed my kids?' And there are millions of people in that position. So what the federal government has got to do, what the private sector has got to do, is say 'you stay home and don't worry about feeding your kids because you're not going to lose any income in this crisis'.
50:28 SHAKIR: Senator, if you wanted to offer some closing remarks before we go?
SANDERS: First of all, let me thank everybody for watching this. We're going to continue doing these things because this is where our campaign is right now, we're not out doing the rallies that I love doing.
Second of all, in the midst of both the health care crisis and the economic crisis that we're facing, the first thing we have to do is respond aggressively to both crises, making sure that we do everything we can to stop the spread of this disease. And we have some great doctors and researchers out there. I hope the President can keep his mouth closed for a while and not prevent the doctors from doing their jobs. We need scientists running the show right now, doctors running the show, and not politicians.
[Third] of all this is a moment, and one of the questions addressed this, is we have got to be thinking about how we got to where we are, and where do we need to be going as a country. Not only to be better prepared for crises - economic and health care crises like these - but to create a more egalitarian and fair society. And in this moment of crisis I think people are thinking about that, they're seeing the absurdity and dysfunctionality of the health care system.
When you just ask me, or a questions comes in, that companies are demanding that workers go to work who should not go to work and will get other people sick, those are types of a culture, a corporate culture, that we have got to address. So let's address the immediate health care crisis, let's address the immediate economic crisis, but let's take this moment to be thinking about the kind of world we want to create in the future.
SHAKIR: Thank you Senator, thank you everyone for joining. Just to recap very briefly, tomorrow night there will be a debate at 8 oclock on CNN, I hope that you will tune in, it will be a good one, educational. And then on Monday night we're going to try to hold a digital online rally with some music, hopefully, on Monday night. And then on Tuesday, we expect, it seems like a vote is going to go forward in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Arizona and if you are in those states we'd urge you to wash your hands before...
SANDERS: By the way, we should mention that there were some states where those elections have been postponed.
SHAKIR: That's right, in Georgia, in Puerto Rico, and Louisiana they have moved their elections back because of concern over public safety and health, which we understand. We are told that the other four states on March 17th will go forward as of now, who knows, we'll see what happens in a few days, but if they do go forward we obviously – if you are healthy – we ask you to go to the polls and please vote and then wash your hands.
SANDERS: Let me just conclude by thanking you all for watching what we're doing here, and also to keep the faith on this one. These are tough times. We will get through this.
And let us understand that if there was ever a moment in history when we are in this together, for all kinds of reasons, this is that moment. Let's stand together, let's have history look back on this moment and say 'wow, despite who is the president, the American people stood up and did the right thing, cared about each other, loved each other, made sure that we all got through this together'. So thank you all very much.