Attorney General William Barr told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night that he was “very concerned” about billionaire Bill Gates’ apparent desire to have “digital certificates” to show if people have been vaccinated against viruses.
“Bill Gates, the Gates Foundation are in favor of developing digital certificates that would certify that individuals, American citizens, have an immunity to this virus and potentially other viruses going forward to then facilitate travel and work and so forth,” Ingraham said. “What are your thoughts from a civil libertarian point of view about these types of – what some would say tracking mechanisms that would be adopted going forward to reopen our broader economy?”
“Yeah, I’m very concerned about the slippery slope in terms of continuing encroachments on personal liberty,” Barr responded. “I do think during the emergency, appropriate, reasonable steps are fine.”
“But a digital certificate to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has – of people who’ve received it,” Ingraham continued. “That’s his answer in a Reddit ask me anything. They had a little forum.”
Barr answered, “Yeah, I’d be a little concerned about that, the tracking of people and so forth, generally, especially going forward over a long period of time.”
Bill Gates apparently favors digital certificates to show an American citizen has immunity to a virus.
Doesn't that raise civil liberty concerns?
AG Bill Barr says: "I’m very concerned about the slippery slope in terms of continuing encroachments on personal liberty." pic.twitter.com/8IK1OxfDcu
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 9, 2020
LAURA: Bill Gates, the Gates Foundation are in favor of developing digital certificates that would certify that individuals, American citizens, have an immunity to this virus and potentially other viruses going forward to then facilitate travel and work and so forth. What are your thoughts from a civil libertarian point of view about these types of – what some would say tracking mechanisms that would be adopted going forward to reopen our broader economy?
BARR: Yeah, I’m very concerned about the slippery slope in terms of continuing encroachments on personal liberty. I do think during the emergency, appropriate, reasonable steps are fine.
LAURA: But a digital certificate to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has – of people who’ve received it. That’s his answer in a Reddit ask me anything. They had a little forum.
BARR: Yeah, I’d be a little concerned about that, the tracking of people and so forth, generally, especially going forward over a long period of time.
LAURA: Are you surprised at how wildly partisan a response to this pandemic has become in the United States? I know everything’s political, but this is about saving lives and saving the broader life of America, and yet from a drug like hydroxychloroquine that’s been around for 65 years, 70 years, to other measures the president’s taken, working with Democrat governors quite well, looks like, it never seems to be good enough.
BARR: No, I have been surprised at it. In fact, it was very disappointing because I think the president went out at the beginning of this thing and really was statesman like, trying to bring people together, working with all the governors, keeping his patience as he got these snarky, gotcha questions from the White House media pool. And it – the stridency of the 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 amazing to me. Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug, and the fact that it had such a long track record, that the risks were pretty well known, and as soon as he said something positive about it, the media’s been on a jahad to discredit the drug, it’s quite strange.
LAURA: There’s a lot of concern now, given the — again, the length of this time, the concern when you hear Dr. Fauci say, well we probably can’t go back to normal life until a vaccine, would be like 12 months, 18 months, that if things don’t open up pretty soon, over some gradual reopening with new protocols and all that, there’s a concern about social unrest. You’re seeing a lot of stores boarded up in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and you’re seeing more of that, small businesses affected, especially by theft and — and other criminal activity. How concerned are you about the social unrest and criminal activity in an ongoing shutdown?
BARR: I mean, I think if we extend a full shutdown, that’s a real — that’s a real threat in some of our communities. But, I don’t think it’s limited to that. I think the president’s absolutely right, we cannot keep, for a long period of time, our economy shut down. Just on the public health thing, you know, it means less cancer — cancer researchers are at home. A lot of the disease researchers, who will save lives in the future, that’s being held in abeyance. The money that goes into these institutions, whether philanthropic sources or government sources, is going to be reduced. We will have a weaker healthcare system if we go into a deep depression. So, just measured in lives, the cure cannot be worse than the disease. But when you think of everything else, generations of families who have built up businesses, for generations in this country — and recent immigrants who have — who have built businesses, snuffed out. Small business that may not be able to come back if this goes on too long. So, we have to find, after the 30 day period, we have to find a way of allowing businesses to adapt to this situation and figure out how they can best get started. That’s not necessarily instantaneously going back to the way life was —
LAURA: Well, people are going to be afraid to go out for a long period of time.
BARR: A period of time.
LAURA: And they’re going to be afraid to restaurants, not — maybe won’t go to the re-up at their health club —
BARR: Right. Right.
LAURA: — but people have to have confidence that it’s decently safe out there to move around.
BARR: Right. And that’s why they have to be given accurate information. But also we have to make PPE more broadly available. Restaurants have to change their protocols, perhaps, or other businesses —
LAURA: A lot of them can’t stay in business if they can’t pack it in. You know D.C., and they’ve got to pack — that’s the only way they make money paying these jacked up rents.
BARR: That’s — right, that’s a danger. That’s a danger. So, I think we have to allow people to figure out ways of getting back to work and keep their workers and customers safe. I’m not suggesting we stop social distancing overnight. There may come a time where we have to worry less about that. So, you know, I don’t know when that will be.
LAURA: One question I didn’t ask before — federalism, states rights, the president has been very clear on that during this health crisis. Are you surprised that certain states, New Jersey, in particular, had come in to say that gun stores are nonessential, gun shops are nonessential, but abortion facilities are essential, given — given what we’re facing?
BARR: Well, I’m not surprised. I mean, that’s where our politics are these days. But, obviously, the federal government agreed that gun stores are essential.
LAURA: And abortion facilities in Texas deemed nonessential by the governor, lieutenant governor very strong on that, that saw a lot of legal challenges. Do you foresee —
BARR: I think it was just upheld.
INGRAHAM: Yes. Will you — do you foresee that continuing those types of challenges going forward, against what is essential in a crisis?
BARR: Well, I mean, again, after this — this period where we’re — we have very strong restrictions in place, hopefully there won’t be a need for those kinds of distinctions to be made.
LAURA: Oh, you think the people are going to have the benevolent approaches? I mean that — the left is clearly trying to use this to reshape American society. This is — never let a crisis go to waste. Now we’re going to do climate change policy and a massive wealth redistribution for the disparities in healthcare. That’s what all the Democrat politicians are now talking about going forward.
BARR: Yes, I’m concerned about that.
INGRAHAM: How has this changed your daily life? I mean, it’s changed everybody’s lives. We’ve never lived through anything like this. Just personally reflect on it.
BARR: I still come in most days, and we sit at the conference very spread out when we’ve – when we need a meeting. We do more by telephone and by a group teleconference and video conference than we have before. And —
INGRAHAM: Do you take your temperature when you come in? Do you —
BARR: I take my temperature. I was — I’m tested occasionally at the White House when I’m going in to see the president. And, you know, we’re starting to wear more — as PPE becomes available beyond the healthcare industry, we’re wearing more PPE.
INGRAHAM: Will you wear a mask going out in public if you just had to go to the grocery today? I know you don’t go to the grocery store, but if you had to go to the grocery store, Mr. Attorney General —
BARR: Yes, I actually wear a mask —
INGRAHAM: — would you?
BARR: — I wear a mask and my security detail wear masks when we go in every morning and when we go home, and frequently I’ll wear it here in the office. I didn’t think you’d let me wear it on this show (laughter).
LAURA: Yes, would you — is there a little —
BARR: Although maybe it would be better.
LAURA: — is there a little design or anything? Or is it just classic —
BARR: Yes, you have to put a little smiley face on it. (laughter)
LAURA: Yes, you don’t have anything good. OK. All right, Mr. Attorney General, thank you so much for joining.
BARR: Thank you. Thanks. Thank you.
LAURA: We appreciate it.