Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks to Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Monday, March 24, 2020. (Photo: Fox News/Screengrab)

'Repulsive': Outrage as Texas Lieutenant Gov. Says Seniors Willing to Risk Coronavirus Infection to Protect Economy

"This crisis is really laying bare the extent to which we are ruled by completely craven psychopaths."

Jake Johnson

Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, told Fox News' disproportionately older audience Monday night that he and other American seniors would be willing to risk dying from the coronavirus in order to ensure that the economy doesn't slide into a serious recession.

"If you asked my kids if they would rather have more stuff or have their Grandpa and Nanna, they would choose their grandparents with no hesitation. This statement is repulsive."
—Texas state Rep. Gene Wu

"If that's the exchange, I'm all in," Patrick said of the choice between risking infection and protecting the economy by returning people to work. "I've talked to hundreds of people... making calls all the time, and everyone says pretty much the same thing: That we can't lose our whole country, we're having an economic collapse."

"My message is: Let's get back to work," said Patrick, who emphasized that he is a grandparent. "Those of us who are 70-plus, we'll take care of ourselves, but don't sacrifice the country. Don't do that. Don't ruin this great American dream."

"You're basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that's not the scariest thing to you," replied Fox News host Tucker Carlson. "There's something that would be worse than dying."

"Yeah," said Patrick.

Watch:

Texas lawmakers and other observers reacted with alarm to Patrick's remarks, which directly contradicted the warnings of public health officials and—if acted upon—could put lives in danger, given that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

"This crisis is really laying bare the extent to which we are ruled by completely craven psychopaths," tweeted Micah Uetricht, managing editor at Jacobin magazine.

Democratic Texas state Rep. Donna Howard, a grandparent herself, told Dallas Morning News that "the idea that the only option is for us to sacrifice ourselves is really incredulous to me."

"I mean, there are definitely other routes we can take that make much more sense," said Howard.

Texas state Rep. Gene Wu also ripped Patrick's remarks in a tweet late Monday.

"If you asked my kids if they would rather have more stuff or have their Grandpa and Nanna, they would choose their grandparents with no hesitation," said Wu, a Democrat. "This statement is repulsive and unfortunately reflective of the attitude many Texas [Republicans] have regarding people and money."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo