In a secret audio recording obtained and published this morning by National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr — the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee — warned a group of well-connected donors three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus.
At that time, as noted by NPR, American citizens were not aware of the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak, having no idea what kind of austerity would be required of us and completely in the dark about travel restrictions that would be coming and the massive social upheaval that was likely in our future.
However, Senator Burr was apparently aware of these things, and rather than share them with the general public, he quietly told his friends in the Tarheel Circle what would be coming down the pike — much of which has now come to pass exactly as the Senator predicted.
On Feb. 27, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was tamping down fears and suggesting the virus could be seasonal.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, It’s like a miracle. It will disappear,” the president said then, before adding, “it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens.”
On that same day, Burr attended a luncheon held at a social club called the Capitol Hill Club. And he delivered a much more alarming message.
“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,” he said, according to a secret recording of the remarks obtained by NPR. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
According to NPR, the luncheon had been organized by the Tar Heel Circle, whose membership consists of businesses and organizations in North Carolina, the state Burr represents. Membership to join the Tar Heel Circle costs between $500 and $10,000, and promises that members “enjoy interaction with top leaders and staff from Congress, the administration, and the private sector,” according to the group’s website.
The report goes on to say that Burr warned those in attendance at this lunch that nonessential travel to Europe by their companies’ employees will be curtailed — a full fifteen days before Donald Trump banned European travel.
Most importantly, however, Senator Burr was publicly saying nothing like any of this at that time. Zero. Nada.
Listen to the audio below, via NPR:
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