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FLASHBACK: TX GOP Celebrated Prematurely Ending Public Health Measures

FLASHBACK: TX GOP Celebrated Prematurely Ending Public Health Measures

WASHINGTON — Texas is shutting back down as the number of coronavirus cases across the state reaches new highs. Texas Republicans, however, can’t hide from the fact that they have irresponsibly advocated for the state to ignore advice from medical experts from the very beginning of this pandemic. They celebrated the dangerous policies that have now led to one of the worst coronavirus cases in the country: putting lives at risk and prolonging damage to the state’s economy.  

GOP lawmakers put their state at risk by downplaying this virus from the start:

  • In leaked audio of a private conference call, Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned Republicans lawmakers that reopening businesses across the state would lead to an increase in coronavirus infections. Despite this explicit knowledge and warnings from health experts, GOP legislators supported reopening anyway.

  • The GOP prematurely opened businesses without a plan to allow Texans who feared for their safety to continue collecting unemployment — forcing workers to choose between their jobs and their health.

  • Representatives Brad Buckley, Jeff Leach, Matt Krause, and Gary Gates complained about the arrest of a Dallas salon owner who refused to follow public health guidelines, with Representative Matt Shaheen even comparing her to civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. 

  • GOP candidate Jacey Jetton and Representative Jeff Leach rejoiced at the premature reopenings of businesses across the state, despite the numbers of coronavirus cases continuing to climb. Representative Matt Shaheen even claimed Texas would “lead the nation’s economic recovery.”

  • As businesses started the reopening process, Republican Representatives Sam Harless, Jeff Leach, and Steve Allison made several public appearances and attended events without taking safety precautions like wearing masks or practicing social distancing — putting Texas workers at risk.

  • When Texas entered Phase II of reopening, state Republicans like Representative Steve Allison praised the reopening as a success, with Representative Tony Tinderholt and GOP HD-26 run-off candidates Jacey Jetton and Matt Morgan acting as though both the coronavirus and the need for pandemic relief were things of the past.

“The Republican response to the pandemic has been a complete disaster, endangering lives in every corner of the state and forcing the economy to shut back down,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Instead of listening to public health experts, the GOP failed to lead and downplayed the threat of the virus for political gain. As a result, Texans are paying the price for their incompetence.”