GOP Lieutenant Governor Faces Backlash for Saying Grandparents Don’t Want to Sacrifice the Economy for Coronavirus Isolation

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The lieutenant governor of Texas has said that he would rather get back to work and risk dying than see coronavirus restrictions damage the U.S. economy and he believes that many of his generation would be prepared to do the same.

Amid a rising death toll and closed businesses across the U.S., Dan Patrick, who turns 70 next month, told Fox News that he was less afraid of COVID-19 and more “in fear of what’s happening to this country.”

President Donald Trump said Monday that he wanted to re-open the U.S. economy within weeks rather than months. At the same media briefing, the White House administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx, said data suggested 99 percent of the coronavirus deaths were those over the age of 50, and that many had pre-existing conditions.

Patrick told Fox anchor Tucker Carlson that his age made him more vulnerable but that people of his age were willing to take a risk.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick addresses the crowd ahead of a rally in support of Senator Ted Cruz on October 22, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. He has told Fox News that he would be prepared to risk his life for the economy which has been shuttered due to the coronavirus.
Loren Elliott/Getty Images

“No one reached out to me and said ‘as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

The grandfather-of-six said that “there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me,” and that he wanted to “live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”

He said he had talked to “hundreds of people” over the last week and that “everyone says pretty much the same thing, that we can’t lose our whole country.”

“So my message is that, let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70 plus, we will take care of ourselves but don’t sacrifice the country. Don’t do that. Don’t ruin this great American dream.”

His comments on Tucker Carlson Tonight sparked much debate on Twitter, with Dan Patrick trending on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Social media users made references to the TV show Logan’s Run, in which no one is allowed to live over the age of 30, and the dystopian film Soylent Green.

Qasim Rashid, a Virginia Democrat who is running for Congress tweeted: “Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick literally says grandparents should die to save our economy for our kids. Not only would millions of young people ‘also’ die, but imagine the sociopathy of preferring mass death to bailing out working Americans.”