Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) suggested Monday that senior citizens like him, who are more likely to die from the illness caused by coronavirus than younger people, should be willing to risk exposure to help the U.S. economy.
Patrick, 69, made the comments during a Fox News appearance with host Tucker Carlson.
“You know, Tucker, 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?’” Patrick said. “And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”
“I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me ― I have six grandchildren ― that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children,” he said. “And I want to, you know, live smart, and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”
“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’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick added.
Patrick’s comments come as President Donald Trump and his allies have begun pushing a narrative that the effects of social distancing on the U.S. economy may be worse than the effects of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 500 people in the U.S. in recent weeks.
Trump and his senior aides have indicated multiple times since Sunday night that the guidelines the president announced last week ― which discourage people from gathering in groups of more than 10 people or entering various public spaces ― will be loosened by next Monday, despite urging from public health officials not to rush back to business as usual.