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Throwback Thursday #2: That Time Dan Patrick Said Seniors Should Die For The Economy

AUSTIN, Texas — This week, our embarrassment of a lieutenant governor once again showed himself unfit to make decisions that affect the lives of Texans. During a press conference Tuesday, the despicable Dan Patrick tried and failed to defend Republicans’ suite of voter suppression bills — which advocates are calling the worst voter suppression our state has seen since the Jim Crow era. Patrick’s flustered attempts to defend the unconscionable bills were prompted by the very real threat of economic retaliation, as corporation after corporation has condemned the assault on Texans’ right to vote.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is willing to sacrifice the economy to suppress the vote — but last year, he was singing a different tune. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a look back at that time last year when Texas’ second-highest official actually suggested that seniors should be willing to die of COVID-19 to protect the state’s economy. Weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S., in an exchange with extreme-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Patrick claimed that keeping our economy open was more important than implementing measures to save the lives of Texans.

Beyond the obviously unsound economic logic, Patrick’s comments fit neatly into the Republican tradition of putting profit over people, to the point of leaving Texans to die. One year later, Patrick’s callous words have given way to tragedy. Texas Republicans’ flippant attitude toward the pandemic has led to the deaths of nearly 50,000 Texans — with Black and Latino communities bearing disproportionate losses and infection rates.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Despicable Dan Patrick is advancing voter suppression bills meant to plunge Texas back into Jim Crow, and now he’s throwing a fit because corporations are fighting back. I am grateful to the companies that are standing up for democracy, and to every Democrat, voting rights ally, and Texan who is speaking out against these attacks on our right to vote.

“Dan Patrick is not interested in protecting Texans — whether it’s our safety, our lives, or our rights. Last year, he said Texas seniors should be willing to die for the economy. Now, he’s trying to gut our right to vote because he knows we are inches away from voting him out. Patrick’s words speak for themselves: our state’s second-highest elected official would rather silence us or let us die than allow us to exercise our constitutional rights. Texans deserve better, and you can be damn sure that Texas Democrats will keep fighting back.”

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