Attorney General William Barr told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Wednesday evening that he was “very concerned” about billionaire Bill Gates’ apparent desire to have “digital certificates” to show if people had been vaccinated against viruses.
“Bill Gates, the Gates Foundation are in favor of developing digital certificates that would certify that individuals, American citizens, have immunity against this virus and potentially other viruses in the future to then facilitate travel and work and so on, “said Ingraham. “What do you think from a civil libertarian perspective of these types of – what would some of the follow-up mechanisms that would be adopted in the future to reopen our economy at large say?”
“Yes, I’m very concerned about the slippery slope in terms of continued encroachments on personal freedom,” said Barr. “I think that during the emergency, appropriate and reasonable measures are fine. “
“But a digital certificate to show who recovered or was tested recently or when we have a vaccine that has it – people who got it,” said Ingraham. “It’s his answer in a Reddit asking me anything. They had a small forum. “
Barr replied, “Yeah, I would be a little worried about it, tracking people and so on, in general, especially over a long time. “
BARR: Yes, I’m very concerned about the slippery slope in terms of continued encroachments on personal freedom. I think that during the emergency, appropriate and reasonable measures are adequate.
LAURA: But a digital certificate to show who recovered or who was tested recently or when we have a vaccine that has it – people who received it. It’s his answer in a Reddit asking me anything. They had a small forum.
BARR: Yes, I would be a little worried about it, tracking people and so on, in general, especially over a long time.
LAURA: Are you surprised how an extremely partisan response to this pandemic has become in the United States? I know it’s all political, but it’s about saving lives and saving America’s wider life, yet a drug like hydroxychloroquine that has been around for 65 years, 70 years, Other steps taken by the President, working fairly well with Democratic governors, look like he never seems to be good enough.
BARR: No, I was surprised. In fact, it was very disappointing because I think the president came out at the beginning of this thing and was really a statesman like, trying to bring people together, working with all the governors, keeping his patience while he was asking these questions the White House media pool. And that – the stride of partisan attacks on him has gotten higher and higher, and it’s really disappointing to see. And the politicization of decisions like hydroxychloroquine has been incredible for me. Before the President said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug, and the fact that he had such long experience that the risks were fairly well known, and as soon as that he said something positive about it, the media are on the verge of discrediting the drug, it’s quite strange.
LAURA: There’s a lot of concern now, given the – again, the length of this period, the concern when you hear Dr. Fauci say, well, we probably can’t go back to normal life until ” that a vaccine, about 12 months, 18 months, that if things do not open very soon, after a gradual reopening with new protocols and all that, there is a concern about social unrest . You see many stores closed in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and you see more, small businesses affected, particularly by theft and – and other criminal activity. How concerned are you with social unrest and criminal activity in an ongoing judgment?
BARR: I mean, I think if we extend a full stop, it’s a real – it’s a real threat in some of our communities. But I don’t think it’s limited to that. I think the chairman is absolutely right, we cannot keep our economy closed for a long time. In terms of public health, you know, it means less cancer – cancer researchers are at home. Many researchers on the disease, who will save lives in the future, are on hold. The money spent on these institutions, whether philanthropic or government sources, will be cut. We will have a weaker health system if we go into deep depression. So, just measured in lives, the remedy cannot be worse than the disease. But when you think of everything else, generations of families who have started businesses, for generations in this country – and recent immigrants who have – who started businesses, have suffocated. Small businesses that may not be able to return if it takes too long. So we have to find, after the 30 day period, we have to find a way to allow companies to adapt to this situation and find the best way to start. It doesn’t necessarily instantly go back to the way life was –
LAURA: Well, people are going to be afraid to go out for a long time.
BARR: A period of time.
LAURA: And they’re going to be afraid of restaurants, not – maybe they won’t go to the re-up of their health club –
BARR: Okay. Right.
LAURA: – but people have to trust that it is decently safe to get around.
BARR: Okay. And that’s why they have to receive accurate information. But we also need to make PPE more widely available. Restaurants have to change their protocols, maybe, or other companies –
LAURA: Many of them can’t stay in business if they can’t pack them. You know D.C., and they have to pack – it’s the only way to make money by paying those inflated rents.
BARR: It’s – it’s true, it’s a danger. It’s a danger. So I think we have to allow people to find ways to get back to work and protect their workers and their customers. I am not suggesting that we stop social distancing overnight. There may come a time when we need to worry less. So, you know, I don’t know when it will be.
LAURA: A question I didn’t ask before – federalism, state rights, the president was very clear on this during this health crisis. Are you surprised that some states, New Jersey in particular, have come to say that gun stores are not essential, gun stores are not essential, but abortions are essential, given – given what we are facing?
BARR: Well, I’m not surprised. This is where our policy is located these days. But, of course, the federal government has agreed that gun stores are essential.
LAURA: And the Texas abortion facilities deemed by the governor, very strong lieutenant governor, to be non-essential, who have seen a lot of legal challenges. Do you plan –
BARR: I think that has just been confirmed.
INGRAHAM: Yes. Are you going – do you anticipate continuing these types of challenges in the future, against what is essential in a crisis?
BARR: Well, I mean, again, after this – this period in which we are – we have very strong restrictions in place, hopefully there will be no need to make these kinds of distinctions.
LAURA: Oh, do you think people are going to have kind approaches? I mean – the left is clearly trying to use that to reshape American society. It is – never let a crisis go to waste. We are now going to make a policy on climate change and a massive redistribution of wealth for disparities in health care. This is what all democratic politicians are talking about now to move forward.
BARR: Yes, that worries me.
INGRAHAM: How has it changed your daily life? I mean, it changed everyone’s life. We have never experienced anything like this. Think about it personally.
BARR: I always come most of the time, and we sit in the conference very dispersed when we have – when we need a meeting. We are doing more by phone and by group teleconference and videoconference than before. And –
INGRAHAM: Do you take your temperature on arrival? Do you –
BARR: I’m taking my temperature. I was – I am occasionally tested in the White House when I go to see the president. And, you know, we’re starting to wear more – as PPE becomes available beyond the healthcare industry, we wear more PPE.
INGRAHAM: Would you wear a mask to go out in public if you were just going to the grocery store today? I know you’re not going to the grocery store, but if you were to go to the grocery store, Mr. Attorney General –
BARR: Yes, I’m actually wearing a mask –
INGRAHAM: – would you do it?
BARR: – I wear a mask and my safety details wear masks when we come home every morning and when we come home, and often I will wear it here at the office. I didn’t think you would let me wear it on this show (laughs).
LAURA: Yes, would you like – is there a little –
BARR: Although it might be better.
LAURA: – is there a little design or something? Or is it just classic –
BARR: Yes, you have to put a little smiley face on it. (to laugh)
LAURA: Yes, you have nothing good. OKAY. Okay, Mr. Attorney General, thank you very much for coming.
BARR: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
LAURA: We appreciate it.