Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” Monday that the Shelby County mayor is misguided in his appeal to have county residents essentially snitch on their neighbors if they see someone in violation of the county’s safer-at-home orders.
The topic has been a hot-button issue. The so-called “snitch line” was a failure in New York City after it was reportedly bombarded with Hitler memes and penis photos. City officials believe that offering residents a secure line to report social-distancing violators gives cities them another tool in the fight to slow the coronavirus spread.
“That is something, I have a problem with that,” Blackburn said. “I think that people are doing what they know is necessary to protect their families. And what I have seen, Todd, is that if you are out and about and someone doesn’t have on gloves or a mask, I have seen people offer them gloves or a mask.”
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Starnes, the best-selling author and host of the show, has been a tough critic on these city appeals and compared the request to Nazi Germany.
“This is right out of the Nazi playbook,” he said.
Lee Harris, the mayor of Shelby County, announced last week that he was going to extend the safer-at-home order for at least another seven days.
“However, after April 30, I do anticipate there will be changes, even significant changes,” he said. “These changes will be necessary because, going forward, we want to work to align the various municipalities and avoid confusion and duplication.”
Earlier this month, Jim Strickland, the Memphis mayor, urged Memphians can call 311 to report anyone who may be in violation of the safer-at-home order.
The Memphis Flyer reported that his office received “several complaints through emails, social media and phone calls” about businesses not following the city orders that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Bruce Randolph, the Shelby County’s health officer, told Local Memphis at the times that he has been getting daily reports about businesses that are not following the rules.
Blackburn, who is a member of Trump’s task force to reopen the country, told Starnes that the slow rollout is going well. She said Americans are eager to get back to work and are intelligent to understand the inherent risks of trying to resume normal activity.
“What we have to do now is say it is time to pivot and to open up this economy and getting people back to work,” Blackburn said. “Areas that have been less affected, they need to be getting back to work. Areas that have been more affected, they’re going to have to be very careful and continue to practice safer at home.”