Basically, he's saying, "F%$# the poors, because they are evil. If they weren't evil, they wouldn't be poors."
The country’s top health official downplayed concerns over the public health conditions inside meatpacking plants, suggesting on a call with lawmakers that workers were more likely to catch coronavirus based on their social interactions and group living situations, three participants said.Basically, he wants to send the Pinkertons into to break the strikes by breaking heads.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a bipartisan group that he believed infected employees were bringing the virus into processing plants where a rash of cases have killed at least 20 workers and forced nearly two-dozen plants to close, according to three people on the April 28 call.
Those infections, he said, were linked more to the "home and social" aspects of workers' lives rather than the conditions inside the facilities, alarming some on the call who interpreted his remarks as faulting workers for the outbreaks, the people said.
"He was essentially turning it around, blaming the victim and implying that their lifestyle was the problem," said Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), who told POLITICO that Azar’s comments left her deeply concerned about the administration’s priorities in fighting the pandemic. "Their theory of the case is that they are not becoming infected in the meat processing plant, they're becoming infected because of the way they live in their home."
Azar emphasized the need to keep the plants open, according to the three people on the call. He also theorized that workers were largely not becoming infected at the meatpacking plants, and were instead contracting the coronavirus from their communities.
Azar noted in particular that many meatpacking workers live in congregate housing, allowing that more testing at facilities would help but that the bigger issue was employees' home environments. One possible solution was to send more law enforcement to those communities to better enforce social distancing rules, he added, according to two of the lawmakers on the call.
What should be noted here is that this attitude is very much mainstream Republican dogma: Poor people suffer because they deserve to, and they deserve it even more because of their dark complexions.
"Law enforcement is not going to solve the problem," Kuster said. "It was so far off base."
An HHS spokesperson on Wednesday declined to offer any evidence supporting Azar’s assertions and said the department doesn’t comment on specifics of conversations with members of Congress, but contended that “this is an inaccurate representation of Secretary’s Azar’s comments during the discussion.”
This has been the case as far back as when Gerald Ford was President, and called for people to be forced to sell their cars before getting unemployment compensation.