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O'Rourke slams Texas official who suggested grandparents risk their lives for economy during pandemic

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) tore into Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) after the state official said he was willing to risk his survival for the good of the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and added that he thinks other grandparents felt the same way.

“This kind of numbnuttery will kill people in Texas. Young as well as old,” O’Rourke, a former 2020 Democratic presidential contender, tweeted on Monday night in reference to Patrick’s earlier remarks. 

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O’Rourke went on to call for Texas to implement a shelter-in-place order to help mitigate the spread of the virus in the state, which has reported more than 400 coronavirus cases, according to the latest data from the Texas Department of State Health Services

“We need a state-wide shelter in place order to stop the spread of coronavirus and save hundreds of thousands of lives,” O’Rourke tweeted.

During an interview on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program earlier Wednesday evening, Patrick, who turns 70 next week, said he is willing to risk his life amid the coronavirus outbreak if it helps the economy.

"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," Patrick said.

"I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children, and I want to live smart and see through this, but I don't want the whole country to be sacrificed. And that's what I see,” he continued.

“So, my message is that, let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves but don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick added. “Don’t do that.”

Carlson then asked the Texas Republican, “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.” 

“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 and we’re going to be in a total collapse, recession, depression, collapse in our society if this goes on another several months, there won’t be any jobs to come back to for many people,” Patrick said.

Patrick added in the interview that the biggest gift grandparents can “give to our country and our children and our grandchildren is the legacy of our country."

Since his remarks, Patrick has been met with a weave of backlash on social media. His office has not yet returned a request for comment from The Hill.