Actor Sean Penn praised the United States military and declared they’re needed to help with the coronavirus response in an appearance on CNN, while some wondered why the network was using the A-list actor as an expert on the subject.
Penn worked closely with the U.S. military during the crisis in Haiti following a major earthquake in 2010, helping coordinate relief efforts. He explained Thursday night what the military could do to help with the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer, an avid media critic, initially mocked the segment.
“Oh great, we’re finally going to solve this coronavirus thing, Sean Penn is on the case,” he tweeted alongside an image of Penn on his television.
Penn then offered a detailed breakdown of how the military helped Haiti in 2010, noting how locations were secured for food distribution and safe zones were set up for doctors to treat patients.
“There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military. The logistical skills, commitment to service, their care for the people,” Penn said. “It’s really time to give the military the full breadth command and control of this operation.”
Penn said that things have slowly begun to “dribble out” before citing examples such as the Defense Production Act being deployed.
“I could talk quite a bit about what should have been done, now with the lives that have been lost and the amount of people that are sick, clearly what we have to do, and what the military does so well, in terms of coordination … coordinating with hospitals, building hospitals, they can build a hospital in 25 minutes,” Penn said, explaining that he highly respects the National Guard but the military is needed on U.S. soil during the pandemic.
“When you have a massive logistical force, with that kind of training, with those kinds of resources available, which far exceed the National Guard … these people understand America and what it’s about,” Penn said. “I wouldn’t blink, I would have put command and control in their hands a month ago, certainly today.”
Many others took to Twitter to mock CNN for using a Hollywood celebrity as a coronavirus response expert, with PBS NewsHour contributor Danny Gold calling it “insanely irresponsible.”
Krakauer sent a follow-up tweet, noting that he wouldn’t be surprised if President Trump enlisted Penn to run coronavirus relief efforts following the interview.
“Sean Penn is basically barking commands to the U.S. military,” he wrote. “Would it surprise anyone if suddenly Trump enlists him to help run coronavirus relief efforts? Seems like a very 2020 thing to happen.”