GOP lawmaker: We must choose 'loss of American lives' over 'loss of our way of life as Americans'

Rep. Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Lawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill's 12:30 Report: Presidential race tightens in key states MORE (R-Ind.) said Tuesday, as the U.S. grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, that the country will always have to choose a “loss of American lives” over a “loss of our way of life as Americans.”

Hollingsworth told Indianapolis's WIBC radio station that there is no “zero-harm” option when it comes to deciding when and how to reopen the American economy.

“Both of these decisions will lead to harm for individuals, whether that's dramatic economic harm or whether that's the loss of life,” he said. “But it is always the American government's position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Hollingsworth said that the decision that would do the most good for the most people would be to “get Americans back to work.” The Indiana lawmaker added that no “amount of legislation out of D.C.” is going to fix the crisis.

“It is policymakers' decision to put on our big-boy and big-girl pants and say, ‘This is the lesser of these two evils,’” he said.

“That is our responsibility, and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office,” he added.

Political leaders in the U.S. are involved in an intense debate over whether the country should reopen its economy as outbreaks of the coronavirus persist in multiple states.

Experts worry that keeping the economy shut down could be even more damaging in the long term than the virus, while health officials say COVID-19 could resurge if the U.S. reopens now.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reached for further comment by The Hill, Hollingsworth said, “It’s hyperbolic to say that the only choices before us are the two corner solutions: no economy or widespread casualties. We can use the best of biology and economics to enable as much of the economy to operate as possible while we work to minimize disease transmission.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE said Monday that he has the authority to decide whether to reopen businesses and schools in states where the governments shut them down. Several lawmakers and state leaders, including New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew Cuomo44 percent of high earners have considered leaving New York City: poll Media's anti-Trump coronavirus spin has real consequences In defense of Trump's efforts to quell pandemic panic MORE (D), contradicted this, saying it goes against the Constitution. 

Indiana has counted 8,527 positive cases and 387 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the state health department.

Updated at 6:31 p.m.