Attorney General William Barr compared calls for a national lockdown to slavery on Wednesday.
Speaking at Hillsdale College, the event's host asked Barr to explain the "constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during COVID-19."
Barr then launched into a four-minute response where he said a national lockdown would be akin to house arrest.
He accused state governors of using their executive powers to stifle citizens and businesses.
"Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restrain, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said.
The attorney general said he's OK with requiring masks, but not shutting down businesses.
The comments came a day after Barr equated prosecutors at the Justice Department to pre-schoolers.