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Sen. Burr Hits Back at NPR’s ‘Tabloid-Style Hit Piece’: ‘Knowingly and Irresponsibly Misrepresented’ My Speech


Senator Richard Burr hit back at a report published earlier in the day by NPR that cited leaked audio and claimed he had warned private donors of the dire threat of the coronavirus, weeks before his North Carolina schools were closed over the threat of the global pandemic.

Reporter Tim Mak obtained leaked audio of Senator Burr shared dire warnings to Republican insiders in late February, at the same time President Donald Trump was actively tamping down fears about COVID-19.

“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said, according to a secret recording of the remarks obtained by NPR. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.” Mak reported:

The luncheon had been organized by the Tar Heel Circle, a nonpartisan group whose membership consists of businesses and organizations in North Carolina, the state Burr represents. Membership to join the Tar Heel Circle costs between $500 and $10,000 and promises that members “enjoy interaction with top leaders and staff from Congress, the administration, and the private sector,” according to the group’s website.

In attendance, according to a copy of the RSVP list obtained by NPR, were dozens of invited guests representing companies and organizations from North Carolina. And according to federal records, those companies or their political committees donated more than $100,000 to Burr’s election campaign in 2015 and 2016. (Burr announced previously he was not planning to run for reelection in 2022.)

The dire message that Burr delivered to a group of GOP fundraisers stands in contrast to what he wasn’t sharing with his North Carolinian constituents.

But Burr was having none of it and claimed that the report “knowingly and irresponsibly misrepresented his speech. In his defense, the attendees were not “insiders” as the event was publicized and open to “anyone who wants to get involved.”

He then continues to explain the nuances of public health awareness in the time of the coronavirus, which you can read below:

Burr has not yet addressed a ProPublica report that claims he sold up to $1.6 million of his personal stock portfolio just a week before the stock market crashed, suggesting he was aware of the ill effects that the gobal pandemic would have on the economy.

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