CNBC's Kernen, Sorkin clash over coronavirus, Trump: 'You used and abused your position'

CNBC hosts Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen had a heated confrontation on the Wednesday edition of "Squawk Box," with Kernen accusing Sorkin of panicking over the coronavirus's impact on the economy, and Sorkin accusing Kernen of abusing his position to help President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE.

"You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about the PPE, panicked about ever going out again, panicked if we'd ever get back to normal," Kernen said to Sorkin, both joining the program remotely.


"Joseph, you didn't panic about anything!" Sorkin said. "One-hundred thousand people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend the president," Sorkin shot back. "That's what you did. Every single morning on this show. ... You used and abused your position!"

Kernen, a 25-year veteran of "Squawk Box," retorted by calling Sorkin's claims "totally unfair."

“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.

The battle concluded with Sorkin saying he was "begging" Kernen to do the news. 

Sorkin is also employed by The New York Times, which published an opinion piece over the weekend, "An Incalculable Loss” regarding the nearly 100,000 American lives lost due to the pandemic.

Stock markets continued their rebound from losses in late March on Wednesday, despite the high unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 36 percent since March 23, with the index up above 25,000 for the first time since February.

Sorkin, also the co-creator of the Showtime series "Billions," was named co-anchor of "Squawk Box" in 2011.