Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is facing a backlash after saying he'd be willing to die to restart the American economy amid the coronavirus pandemic — and he thinks other grandparents would, as well. Patrick said on Fox News Monday night that he's spoken to "hundreds of people" who felt similarly — "that we can't lose our country."
"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 remarked. "And if that's the exchange, I'm all in."
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Patrick claimed other grandparents like him would be willing to make the same sacrifice.
"I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me," Patrick continued. Reactions from viewers tell a different story.
At one point, Carlson asked Patrick to clarify his statements: "You're basically saying that this disease could take your life but that's not the scariest thing to you? There's something that would be worse than dying?"
"Yeah," Patrick replied. "If I get sick, I'll go and try to get better, but if I don't, I don't, and I'm not trying to think of any kind of morbid way, Tucker, I'm just saying that we've got a choice here."
As CBS Austin affiliate KEYE-TV notes, Patrick's interview goes against what medical professionals have to say about coronavirus, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Trump administration official has the importance of staying at home to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus to at-risk groups.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone 65 and older is "at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19," the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Eight out of 10 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 have been to people in that age range, the CDC notes.