Things Got Heated This Morning on Squawk Box

By A.J. Katz Comment

Squawk Box co-hosts Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen oftentimes don’t see eye-to-eye on the issues, though we rarely see the back-and-forth get as contentious as it did this morning.

With Becky Quick stuck in the middle, Sorkin and Kernen got in a heated debate just five minutes into today’s broadcast of Squawk Box concerning the recent market rally (the Dow is currently at its highest point since March 10), with Sorkin later accusing Kernen of not caring about the 100,000+ deaths from Covid-19 and more generally just being in the tank for President Trump.

Kernen initially accused Sorkin of being overly pessimistic about the rally, and wondering aloud why he seemed to be going out of his way to find negative market indicators. Sorkin responded by saying that “a lot of smart people” are wondering how the market could be so high despite the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the economy.

“Why is that the smart people?! They’ve been wrong for 35%!” Kernen said—referring to the gains the Dow has made since reaching its low of 18,213 on March 23. “Why are they smart?! Just because they can see what’s right in front of their nose?! That doesn’t make them smart! It makes them not savvy about the market!”

“Joe! You missed it 100% on the way down too!” Sorkin responded. “You missed it 100% on the way down! And you missed 100,000 deaths!”

Kernen tried to respond, but Sorkin wasn’t done, and raised his voice even more. “Hold on! Hold on! Hold on! I’m not going to do this with you, Joe!” Sorkin said. He conceded he doesn’t know whether he’s right or wrong, but that the questions that investors are posing are valid.

The debate basically went off the rails after that, as Kernen referenced a moment from Tuesday’s broadcast in which he said Sorkin yelled, and added, “You just yelled again!”

Kernen went on to outline what he perceives as an overreaction by Sorkin to the Covid-19 pandemic, despite 100,000+ deaths to date.

“You panicked about the market, panicked about Covid, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about PPE, panicked about ever going out again,” said Kernen.

That statement set Sorkin off.

“And Joseph, you didn’t panic about anything? Joseph, 100,000 people died. 100,000 people died, Joe and all you did was try to help your friend the president,” Sorkin alleged. “Those are what you did, every single morning on this show, every single morning on this show. You have used and abused your position, Joe. You have used and abused your position.”

Kernen described Sorkin’s accusations as “totally unfair,” saying, “I’m just trying to help investors keep their cool, keep their heads and as it turned out that’s what they should have done,” he said.

Things eventually calmed down, and Sorkin later interviewed incoming AT&T CEO John Stankey about today’s launch of HBO Max.

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