US Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday said the calls for a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic is like "house arrest" and a civil rights intrusion nearly unequaled in American history.
Addressing a Hillsdale College audience, the event’s host asked Barr to explain the “constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during Covid-19.”
The question led Barr into a four-minute response, in which he said state governors were using their executive powers to stifle citizens and businesses from going back to work.
“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like 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 as a round of applause came from the crowd.
Covid-19 has taken a measurable toll on minorities, including Black people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they ... defy common sense,” Barr said, adding: “They treat free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”
“We have to give business people an opportunity, tell them what the rules are, you know the masks, which rule of masks, you had this month ... and then let them try to adapt their business to that and you’ll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living,” Barr added.