Is it for the good of the economy, or the good of Trump? The president’s statement that The U.S. will be “opening our country up for business” soon has suddenly become the mantra of many on the right. But back to work at what cost? The implication, actually said out loud by Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, is that the elderly could be expendable for the sake of the economy. That would be Donald Trump’s economy and his re-election campaign. Here’s Patrick last night to Fox News host Tucker Carlson:
“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… I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…”
“My message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about and those of us who are 70 plus we will take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country…”
“The point is, our biggest gift we give to our country and our children and our grandchildren is the legacy of our country… I think we can get back to work…. It’s worth whatever it takes to save the country.”
Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine an elected official of either party would talk like Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick did. It is essential for the soul of this nation that he be repudiated in the strongest possible terms by major Republican leaders.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) March 24, 2020
Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke writes: "This kind of numbnuttery will kill people in Texas. Young as well as old. We need a state-wide shelter in place order to stop the spread of coronavirus and save hundreds of thousands of lives."
The Washington Post's Greg says he thinks this has touched a chord "because it captures something essential about President Trump, his response to coronavirus, and the vision of our responsibilities to one another underlying it -- or, more accurately, the lack of any such vision... Trump has not said the elderly should be prepared to sacrifice their lives, as Patrick did. But Trump’s framing of the broader choice at hand is very much like Patrick’s."
And Tuesday, Trump seemed to be echoing Patrick's thoughts on Twitter, specifically mentioning the "Seniors" as if they are all in hospice care already.
Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020
During a news conference today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo didn't name Patrick but he certainly seemed to be referencing all this when he said:
"If you ask the American people to choose between public health and the economy, then it's no contest. No American is going to say accelerate the economy at the cost for human life. Because no American is going to say how much a life is worth. Job one has to be save lives. That has to be the priority."
But it does seem that Patrick is one of the Americans who does think it's okay to sacrifice human life.
.@DanPatrick you should be ashamed.without protecting our elderly, we are nothing! I lost family and friends last days! And I’m empty...! https://t.co/ziQM5eWWss the economy! You are pro-life? Shame on you..@GregAbbott_TX fire him now! If not elderly should vote @TheDemocrats https://t.co/21Bn5YyM9g— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 24, 2020
Jeet Heer, a correspondent for The Nation points out:
"Here's the deal: the real killer isn't just the virus but overloaded hospitals. But in any circumstances Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will get a ventilator if he needs one. The poor won't. He's claiming to be willing to make a sacrifice but it is others who will die."
The truly scary thing about this is that Dan Patrick is expressing the sort of euphoria that comes when people surrender to a cult leader's thought-command.— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 24, 2020
"My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say" https://t.co/8APrmM9PaT
Some people are equating all this to cult leader Jim Jones having people drink the Kool-aid.
ive been saying since 2015 this thing is a cult. it isnt hyperbole or an attempt to score political points. go read up on how cults operate or watch one of the many documentaries. its almost exactly the same, except jim jones, charles manson never had so many people onboard.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 24, 2020
Breaking: Trump cult goes full-throttle Jim Jones.— Christopher C. Alberto (@ChrisAlbertoLaw) March 24, 2020
Rather than shoot people in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue, Trump is going to have grandma & grandpa kill themselves in broad daylight.
Hey, #MAGA #KAG crowd, are you going to drink his Kool-Aid? https://t.co/QzkhYiIWjw
*This post contains opinion and analysis