Taibbi Says It, so I Don’t Have To

Late last week, Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina briefly became the most detestable politician in America, at a time when public outrage toward politicians was at an all-time high.

Burr dumped hundreds of thousands (if not millions) worth of stocks after non-public briefings about the extent of the coronavirus crisis in the Senate Intelligence Committee.


On February 7th, days after being briefed by intelligence officials on response by foreign powers to the outbreak, he co-wrote an editorial on “steps the U.S. government is taking to protect you.” In it, he declared:

The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats… in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration.

Six days later, Burr sold off 33 stock holdings. Later that month, on the same day Donald Trump was saying coronavirus will “disappear” like “a miracle,” Burr spoke at a private luncheon for heavy financial hitters at the Tar Heel Club. “[Coronavirus] is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said.


Recapping: the Senate’s Intelligence Committee chief was briefed by intel officials, actively reassured the public, dumped stock, whispered the real dope to rich connected folk, got busted by media, then feebly claimed he made financial decisions watching CNBC, before a seething public bracing for years of agony due to financial collapse. If there’s such a thing as a grand slam of political assholedom, Burr hit it.


The Burr scandal shows how difficult it is to effect meaningful reform in Washington. If not just one but many members of congress feel sufficiently bulletproof that they’re not scared of trading against a pandemic, how will the government ever deal with less obviously grotesque issues?

This is why we can NEVER trust any sort of Republican bailout package, there is literally no limit to their capacity for corruption.

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