- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2020

Home Depot co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bernie Marcus said in a new interview that the mainstream media has done a “wonderful job” of frightening Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Marcus, who last month was appointed by President Trump to serve on an advisory council to assist the White House coronavirus task force in reopening the economy, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Tuesday that the ongoing lockdowns across the country are permanently destroying small businesses.

“I think the media’s done a wonderful job of frightening America,” Mr. Marcus said. “And the truth of the matter is, what [Florida] Gov. [Ron] DeSantis did here and what Gov. [Brian] Kemp did in Georgia is a perfect example of understanding that people needed to get back, needed to get out of the house and start businesses again and needed to go to work again.

“But there are bureaucrats all over the country, and we still have it in the blue states, as you know, that are still closed and God knows when they’ll open,” he continued. “And those people up there, they are struggling and it’s desperation time for many of them.”

Mr. Marcus, who sold the Home Depot chain in 2002 and later founded the conservative advocacy group, Job Creators Network, went on to say that it’s nonsensical for children to be kept home when the most vulnerable are elderly people like him.

“My age bracket is really the problem,” the 91-year-old said. “We’re only a small portion of the population and we’re closing down everybody, in addition to the school kids. It doesn’t make any sense.

“Remember this, a lot of these rules are made by plutocrats, bureaucrats, government employees, people who get paid no matter what happens,” he continued. “But the poor guy out there who works for a living who gets paid hourly, he’s going to struggle and the money doesn’t come in. If a governor decides he wants to close the state, he still gets paid. His family still eats, but the people who work with him, I’m sorry to tell you, don’t have the same situation. It’s pretty sad.”

Mr. Marcus said many small businesses aren’t going to survive the pandemic unless the Paycheck Protection Program is extended to at least a “five-year payout” and business owners are given more leeway in how to spend it.

“They’re not going to survive, and if they don’t survive the economy of this country is not going to survive either,” he said.

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