Rep. Gaetz: 'Lockdowns have likely impacted more Americans than the virus'

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., discusses the Trump administration’s handling of COVID-19, the president’s recent comments about the virus and the battle over the Supreme Court vacancy.
7:44 | 09/23/20

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Transcript for Rep. Gaetz: 'Lockdowns have likely impacted more Americans than the virus'
In turn back to politics and bring in Republican congressman Matt gates of Florida. It is look fiber and dispatches from the front lines of the matter revolution gave some lays out his vision for the future of populism. And the make America great again movement thanks so much for coming back on the show congressman. Thanks for having me. So let's start of the covet nineteen milestone that we hit today. 200000 American lives las and that includes more than thirteen thousand deaths in your state of Florida you praised the drug administration's handling of the pandemic but. Now we were at this milestone would you say that this debts told was inevitable. Every milestone is tragic. I'd. Don't know that any death is inevitable. I do know that the original projections. Contemplated Tutu and a half million people potentially dying and call 200000 that is not acceptable wall even to would not be acceptable. This is certainly a well below that threshold I would say in Florida's defense we have had one of the lowest mortality rates in the entire country and currently are positively raiders. Down below 3% on a three day rolling average in the Arab sorry down below 4% on a three day rolling average and so we are seeing conditions improve. It lets take a listen to president trump last night at a rally in Ohio. And I would. It affects elderly people elderly people would heart problems and other problems. They have all the problems that's what it really affect sensitive data fax. Virtually nobody is it's an amazing case. It was the right thing to say because as we know many young and healthy people have also died of co bid nineteen specifically 21%. Of those who were under the age of 65. Have lost their life in this country to cope with nineteen. Right and only 6% of those who've lost their life according to the CDC did not have a co morbidity. So when the president speaks to this co morbidity is obviously. But he's speaking to the science and it is true that we have to take special protection. Over the seniors and elderly population throughout the country in Florida that's why we went on offense against the virus in our nursing homes in and are assisted living facilities. But this is obviously something we're gonna continue to deal with until we have a vaccine. Fortunately based on the reports are getting from a Daryn I advisor. We're closer than we ever could have imagined as a consequence of operation warp speed. I'm gonna get your book in just 12 just a follow up there because if you heard him at the rally he said that it affects virtually nobody. Virtually nobody. Is that an accurate statement and 13 of Americans say that they know someone whose diet or been hospitalized because of Kobe nineteen. Yeah I would say that the lockdown says. Likely impacted and a lot more Americans than even the virus or the illness have been the president's comments about virtually nobody were in the context of the statements about the co morbidity is elderly populations people who have diabetes. And those types of other diseases and so again. Healthy Americans. Know who don't have. Co morbidity have a very low likelihood of fatality but I would also remind everyone that we don't know the long term effects of Soviet we. For example don't know of dole cause blood clots and folks later in life the impact on the digested system as one is still being studied so. I wouldn't suggest that we know the full story until we get a little further down the road. What would you have to agree with the president that it's affected virtually nobody. Forget I think that has to be evaluated in the context of the types of people who are impacted most that's how I read a statement I speak for myself and I would say that. The deaths that we patter tragic but it's well below the two and a two and a half million that were originally projected as a possibility on the higher end. So you're self described firebrand how important is it's you to try to reach across the aisle or is politics inevitably a blood sport and to that point. On the battle of the Supreme Court vacancy do you think this senate Republicans need. Any justification at all to vote on a trump nominee during an election year or should be enough that they can because they have the power. The Republicans have the power and I suggest we use it did the Democrats had. The presidency and the senate you better believe they'd be. Confirming a Supreme Court justice of heard a lot of Democrats today complain about the Merrick Garland situation but Democrats hadn't consolidated sufficient power to be able to seek Merrick Garland because they didn't have the senate. I do think we have to reach across the -- and in my book firebrand which is out today I specifically identified the environment is one of those issues. Climate change is real it is an absolute threat to humanity in if we don't start working on these generational challenges together. I fear that the politics of paralysis will limit the type of progress that we can make him. You know I layout ideas like improving our electric grid improving our infrastructure and that ought to bring Republicans and Democrats together. And it fly in winds in the Democrats flip the senate in November when it be fair provided to try to expand the Supreme Court if he can or should he follow the president of just nine justices. Why I think Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a bit of an opinion on that she thought that nine was the right number. You know the Democrats have fully embrace the FDR. Economic policies I didn't know there are going to embrace the FDR court packing policies. If I wanna check history and see how that went for the last president and tried it I think that for all the talk from Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in Washington about how Donald Trump threatens to shake our institutions and burn them to the ground it's the Democrats now talking about potentially using impeachment as a procedural jam on the confirmation process or even for goodness sakes expanding the Supreme Court that's more institutional violence than they've ever accuse Donald Trump of. Curious because you brought up to the point of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her thoughts about the number of justices also. Reportedly her granddaughter said that it was her wish that her seat would not be. Filled until after the election do you think that that should be given any weight. Well there there is no prevailing wish provision of the constitution the constitution's pretty clear that the senate has an obligation to advise and consent of withholding that consent. Just because an election Iraq is around the corner is about like watching an NBA basketball team to give up in the fourth quarter because they want to know who the coach is going to be in the following year. We're elected for full terms we have an obligation to meet our constitutional duties during those terms and any senators who reject their duties ought to be rejected by other voters. In your book you also discuss the future of populism in the make America great revolution know what do those movements look like if trump does list inviting in November. I believe that. Trump is necessary to maintain a brand of conservatism. That is America first I worry that if Joseph Biden wins Republicans all go back to the Mitt Romney John K six Jeb Bush Cheney days of invading everywhere in the world and inviting illegal immigrants to cross our border so that multinational corporations can benefit from cheap labor president trump has really led a political realignment and our country were off on trade on immigration on foreign policy and com be sure to make sure that that continues well beyond his tenure in office. Congressman lastly just like to give you a chance to plug the book again firebrand. What you hope that they take away is for readers. All Washington is a deeply corrupt place in the only way to fix it. Is to have greater civic engagement on the only Republican in congress who doesn't take money from political action committees and so. One hope I have is that when readers see how committee assignments are bought and sold for specific dollar amounts out. Leaders only move up if they move around a certain amount of campaign cash that bill demanding government that is more noble and more more I would say responsive to the great patriotic impulses that I find all around this great country. Congressman Matt gates always a pleasure to talk to you thanks so much for joining us extra mig and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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