Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Wednesday that officials in his home state “literally want to sacrifice” the lives of citizens in order to reopen.
O’Rourke joined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace to discuss Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement repealing the statewide mask mandate and allowing all businesses to reopen at full capacity.
“There’s some reporting that business leaders do not welcome this, that it now falls to them,” Wallace began, adding, “It sounds like it isn’t going to work on the science side. There’s a lot of skepticism within the business community in Texas that it’s not going to work on the economic side as well. Why is he doing it?”
“They literally want to sacrifice the lives of our fellow Texans, for — I don’t know, for political gain? To satisfy certain powerful interests within the state? And this isn’t hyperbole,” O’Rourke replied. “You heard our lieutenant governor, arguably one of the most powerful positions in the state of Texas, say on Fox News at the beginning of the pandemic, ‘We are willing to die. Old people are willing to sacrifice their lives in order for the economy to reopen.'”
O’Rourke went on to say it might not be older Texans who died as a result of the state reopening, noting the disparate impact the coronavirus pandemic had on minority communities. (RELATED: Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann Slammed For Saying Texans Shouldn’t Get Vaccines After Gov. Abbott Drops Mask Mandate)
“You heard our former Governor Rick Perry say, ‘we will take blackouts,'” O’Rourke continued, noting dozens of Texans had died as a result of the winter storm and following power crisis. “Perry says we’ll take that rather than federal oversight and regulation.”
O’Rourke’s conclusion was that waiting for the vaccine — which the Biden administration promised by the end of May — was the best possible option. “We just have to run through the tape,” he said.