At least one Republican state governor who is hell-bent on re-opening their state’s businesses and reanimating their local economies can no longer claim to be unaware of the deadly consequences of their actions.
Just two days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent out the tweet below bragging about his state’s high ranking among those with the largest number of recovered COVID-19 patients — a virus that scientists are still not sure that people can’t succumb to a second time — an incriminating audio recording of the governor speaking to Texas state legislators was leaked.
The number of Texans who have RECOVERED from #COVID19 now exceeds the number of active COVID cases for the past 2 days.
That’s exactly what we want to see.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 3, 2020
The non-profit progressive media group Progress Texas released the leaked audio and slammed Governor Abbott for knowingly putting the lives of Texans on the line by prematurely relaxing restrictions while the pandemic still rages on.
“How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in the faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?” the recording of Governor Abbot begins.
“Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that, whenever you have a reopening, whether you want to call it a reopening of business or just a reopening of society in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase in spread.”
“It’s almost ipso facto. The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility there is for transmission,” the recording concludes.
What is also ipso facto is the fact that Governor Abbott knew that reopening his state for business would lead to increased contagion and ultimately more deaths.
BREAKING: As @GovAbbott reopens the state in the midst of a rising infection and death rate, leaked audio from a call with Texas Legislators reveals that he knows reopening puts more Texans at risk. #txlege pic.twitter.com/kTK4M8gpSY
— Progress Texas (@ProgressTX) May 5, 2020
Since the first phase of relaxing coronavirus-inspired restrictions began on May 1st, Texas set a record for the largest gain of COVID-19 cases over a two-day period since the pandemic began, with 1,142 new cases reported on May 1st and 1,293 new cases on May 2nd.
— Progress Texas (@ProgressTX) May 5, 2020
While Abbott is currently in the middle of a live press conference defending his decision to begin reopening his state, the leaked audio from his discussion with Texas legislators proves that he is willing to risk the price of his citizens’ health and potentially their lives to restart the moribund economy, placing mammon over life as his most sacred objective.
Such actions will certainly help Republicans rebrand their political organization as the Grand Old Party of Death.
GOPOD has such a nice symmetry with COVID after all. Plus if you eliminate that party, it’s all GOOD.
The GOPOD’s nefarious schemes to avoid having to pay extended unemployment benefits — which would undoubtedly require repealing the billionaire tax breaks that they enacted once Donald Trump took office — by forcing people back to work under dangerous conditions will only work if people are actually willing to venture out of their homes. Businesses can’t function without workers and without customers, so individuals hold all the power ultimately.
If you can afford to, stay home until there is an effective treatment for COVID-19, a vaccine, or sufficient testing and contact tracing to minimize the personal risk to yourselves and others.
Make sure, however, to venture out to cast your ballots to rid our political system of members of a Republican party that values commerce over the lives of America’s citizens.
UPDATE: The full recording of Governor Abbott’s remarks are now available and you can hear them in the link below:
.@texasdemocrats and @ProgressTX release conference call recording from last Friday in which @GovAbbott tells state lawmakers and congressional delegation that reopening business will result in an increase in spread of #COVID19. https://t.co/GmY74ifpSl
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) May 5, 2020
Original reporting by Progress Texas.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.