A conversation that started off innocently enough between Anderson Cooper and Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman ended with them both visibly frustrated, and it was honestly amazing.
On Wednesday, the CNN host had the 81-year-old on his show to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus on casinos and restaurants in the city, and it didn’t end well to say the least.
The interview came after last week she compared COVID-19 to the common flu:
“Those whom we’ve lost represent less than a half of 1 percent of our population, which has caused us to shut down our entire state and everything that makes Nevada unique. From my perspective, we must open our city, we must open Southern Nevada, and we must open the state of Nevada.”
Currently in the state of Nevada, a stay-at-home order is in effect through April 30, but may be extended. Every casino in the state closed along with other nonessential businesses on March 17, per Governor Steve Sisolak‘s order.
Cooper presented a diagram to Carolyn showing how the infectious virus could easily spread in a restaurant, based on a study done by researchers in China. In response, Goodman said:
“This isn’t China. This is Las Vegas, Nevada.”
“Wow, OK, that’s really ignorant.”
Note that Carolyn does not have authority over Las Vegas Strip casinos, which is part of Clark County. Technically, the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Governor will determine when casinos can reopen. Despite that, she contends that the loss of revenue and jobs is more harmful than the deaths or number of potential deaths.
“You’re encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to come to Las Vegas. I get the financial losses people are suffering, which is awful. But you’re encouraging … hundreds of thousands of people coming there in casinos smoking, drinking, touching slot machines, breathing circulated air, and then returning home to states around America and countries around the world. Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish?”
Carolyn called Cooper out for being an alarmist, and said that as someone who also grew up in Manhattan like he did, she was accustomed to being in close proximity to strangers. When asked how she would promote social distancing in casinos so they could safely open, Goodman responded:
“That’s up to them to figure out. I don’t know anything about running a casino.”
The 52-year-old pointed out that mayors in other major cities have been working hard to call for additional COVID-19 testing so businesses could reopen safely once the curve was flattened:
“If you can’t figure out how to do this safely, why, as mayor of a city that you are responsible for the people’s safety, are you calling for something that you have no plan for how it would be done safely?”
In response, she stated:
“So for a restaurant to be open, or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.”
And what’s your job, Carolyn?! Shouldn’t you be interested in the welfare of your people?
Despite seemingly putting the burden on businesses to “figure it out” she noted that she speaks with casino owners almost daily and that they want to reopen. As if everyone else also doesn’t want to get back to “normal” life…
When Anderson asked if she was concerned about these employees contracting the virus, she answered:
“You’re talking disease. I’m talking life. I’m talking life and living.”
Who’s going to let her know that they’re not mutually exclusive??
Watch the interview HERE.
It’s no surprise that people on Twitter are absolutely losing it, including Vegas native Jimmy Kimmel:
“Dear Las @Vegas. It would appear that your @mayoroflasvegas Carolyn Goodman is dangerously misguided. I am not easily shocked anymore, but the interview she is doing with @andersoncooper @cnn right now is bonkers.”
“The @mayoroflasvegas Carolyn Goodman should resign before lunch arrives today. She is an embarrassment to my hometown.”
Thoughts, y’all?? Let us know (below) in the comments!!
[Image via CNN.]