Patrick Rips Science Amid Call for Head of NJ Governor
Who Gets Rave Reviews from Voters for Virus Handling
By Mike Hailey Capitol Inside Editor
A poll that was released on Tuesday suggests that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick could be dramatically out of touch with voters on both sides of the aisle with his slamming of coronavirus lockdowns and portrayal of Democratic leaders as ruthless dictators who would imprison conservative critics if they could.
The Republican statewide leader stormed back into the national spotlight on Monday night when he doubled down on a Fox News show on controversial comments about the sacrifice of lives for the economy's sake. But Patrick poured fuel into the flames when he demanded the resignation of Democratic Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey amid false claims on police enforcement of emergency orders in the northeastern state.
"I've always said if the Democrats had total control they would put people like you and me in jail and throw away the key," Patrick told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview last night. "And that's what they're doing Tucker because they now have total control - and everywhere you see these draconian rules of locking down people and keep businesses shut and destroying our country. It's mostly Democrat governors, Democrat county judges, Democrat mayors."
While Patrick also appeared to take a possibly inadvertent swipe at Republican Governor Greg Abbott when he argued that it didn't make sense for Texas to still have lockdowns in place when the COVID-19 death toll hasn't been as high as experts had feared. Patrick didn't mention that Abbott had implemented a statewide policy that extended stay-at-home orders that local leaders had imposed initially or that President Donald Trump had signed off on federal guidelines for keeping lockdowns in effect until testing has shown that it's safe to ease restrictions gradually.
Patrick declared that he'd been right all along while federal official Anthony Fauci and other medical and scientific experts had been repeatedly overestimated the potential devastation that the virus would cause in Texas and across the nation as a whole. Patrick also said that Texas was leading the way on the economic revival even though several other southern states plan to allow businesses to reopen sooner than they will be able to do under executive orders that Abbott announced late last week.
After arguing that restarting the economy should be a higher priority than public health protection, Patrick indicated that he agreed with a fallacious statement that the conservative commentator served up when he said that Murphy had ordered police to arrest people who criticize him.
The truth is that law enforcement authorities in New Jersey have issued hundreds of warnings and citations to people for blatant violations of the Garden State's stay-at-home order. While some of the people who've been accused could eventually face misdemeanor charges, very few have actually been taken to jail after refusing to cooperate with police and physically confronting them in several cases.
The New Jersey attorney general's office has been publishing a daily list of alleged infractions including some that involved public gatherings at parties and protests in open defiance of restrictions similar to those that have been in effect in Texas and most states. A New Jersey woman was charged this past weekend for violations of the emergency orders after organizing a protest at the state Capitol in Trenton. But the rally leader received a citation and was not arrested.
Patrick - the most prominent tea party conservative in Texas during a five-year stint as the state Senate president - might be dismayed to learn that the voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly support the actions that Murphy has taken in the midst of a pandemic that's hit New Jersey harder than any other state with the exception of neighboring New York.
A new Monmouth University poll found that Murphy's approval rating soared during the COVID-19 crisis with 79 percent of the voters in the survey saying that he's done a good job in the fight against a disease that's claimed more than 4,500 lives in New Jersey. Only 41 percent of the New Jersey voters in the sample give Trump good marks for his performance during the worst public health emergency in more than a century. Only 10 percent of the New Jerseyans in the Monmouth poll are on the same page with Patrick with their disapproval of the job that Murphy has done in the virus crisis midst.
Sixty-percent of the Republican voters in the poll and 75 percent of the Democrats approve of the public outing of alleged violators of the stay-at-home order there. New Jersey has been a solid blue state in presidential elections since Texan George H.W. Bush won there in 1988. But five of the 10 most recent New Jersey governors have been Republicans including Murphy's predecessor Chris Christie, who led the northeastern state for eight years before the current incumbent's election in 2018. Murphy had been a high-level executive at Goldman Sachs before he entered politics after retiring in 2006.
But Patrick said that Murphy should resign in disgrace for allegedly breaking the vows that he'd taken to protest the U.S. Constitution.
Patrick contended that the lockdowns across the country were the work of Democrats without mentioning that Abbott had imposed a statewide policy early this month that effectively extended shelter-in-place orders that local leaders who are mostly Democrats had imposed in March. Patrick, who's been Trump's most visible and outspoken supporter in Texas, also failed to acknowledge in the national television appearance last night that the president had signed off on the federal guidelines for a gradual resurrection of the economy despite calls from the hard right for an immediate reopening.
But Patrick contended that he'd been vindicated by a coronavirus death count that hasn't been as high as Fauci had other experts had feared that it would be in the initial stages of the outbreak. Fauci has been the most prominent authority on the virus as a federal official who's a member of the task force that the president assembled for the fight with the disease.
While Patrick said that he respected Fauci, he contended that the key Trump task force member who's been the nation's leading epidemiologist for several decades had been wrong consistently with projections and that science in general had failed in the crisis face.
Carlson said that he'd invited Patrick to appear again on his show because he felt like the Texas leader had been "savagely criticized" unfairly after contending on the program in March that older Americans like himself would be glad to die if that's what it would take to get the economy back on track.
“I’m sorry to say that I was right on this and I’m thankful that now we are now finally beginning to open up Texas and other states because it’s been long overdue," Patrick said last night.
“What I said when I was with you that night is there are more important things than living," Patrick added. "And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us. I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die, but man we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”
Patrick suggested that he'd known the start that the crisis had been overblown and that the restrictions that it prompted would have a devastating economic effect.
“I’m a small business guy and I’ve been around the block long enough to see what was going to happen,” Patrick said. “We’re crushing the average worker. We’re crushing small business. We’re crushing the market. We’re crushing this market.”