Former Fox host and conservative commentator Glenn Beck has joined a host of right-wing voices criticizing the shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic claiming he ‘would rather die’ than see the economy collapse because businesses are closed.
Beck, 56, told listeners on his radio show Tuesday that people over 50 should head back to work and run the risk of falling ill with the deadly coronavirus to keep the economy going, acknowledging that this could result in their deaths.
His comments came after President Donald Trump spoke of an accelerated time frame for the shut down, going against expert advice to open up the country again by mid-April with claims it would protect the economy.
On Monday, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick also suggested that older people should go back to work and ‘take a chance on your survival’ for their ‘children and grandchildren’.
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‘I would rather die’: Glenn Beck says the risk of dying from the coronavirus is better than the risk of the ‘country dying’ from the economy collapsing in the weeks-long shutdown
Beck was heavily criticized even by other conservative commentators such as David Frum
Beck told listeners of his radio show that President Trump should cut back on the social distancing protocols before any more harm is inflicted on the economy.
‘I mean, I’m in the danger zone. I’m right at the edge, I’m 56,’ he said.
‘In Italy they’re saying if you’re sick and you’re 60, don’t even come in. So I’m in the danger zone.
‘I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,’ Beck added.
‘Even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country. Because it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.’
Beck has been criticized for the comments including harsh words from fellow conservative commentator and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum who wrote: ‘When he says “I” he means of course “you”.’
Beck’s words echoed the comments of Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick on Monday who claimed that senior citizens should make a sacrifice to keep the country going.
Texas’ lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, 69, also suggested he would rather die than see the economy destroyed for his grandchildren due to the coronavirus crisis in a shocking interview Monday night. The Republican firebrand, who was elected in 2014, pictured in June 2019
‘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 is the exchange, I’m all in,’ Patrick said in the Monday night interview on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. His words were echoed by Glenn Beck Tuesday
The 69-year-old, who turns 70 next week, says that people at high risk to catch the contagious disease like himself ‘will take care of ourselves’. He said that he prioritizes a stimulated economy for his grandchildren over the coronavirus crisis devastating the stock market
The Republican rallied behind the words of President Trump and pushed back on the advice of public health officials by urging America to open for business during his appearance on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The 69-year-old, who turns 70 next week, says that people at a high risk to catch the contagious disease like himself ‘will take care of ourselves’.
‘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 is the exchange, I’m all in,’ Patrick said.
Patrick said there were lots of grandparents like him keen to see the economy in motion again and he doesn’t ‘want the whole country to be sacrificed’ due to the outbreak.
‘I’ve talked to hundreds of people … and just in the last week, and making calls all the time and everyone says the pretty much the same thing, that we can’t lose our whole country. We are having an economic collapse,’ Patrick said.
‘I’m also a small businessman. I understand it.’
‘Let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it,’ he urged.
‘And those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.’
His comments come after Trump said he wanted the economy to start up again and make America ‘open for business’ in a matter of weeks – not months.
During press conferences early this week the president has said that shutting down the country could be more devastating in the long run for the US than the virus itself and claimed that by Easter Sunday on April 12 he was aiming to see churches full again.
‘If we lose those companies, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions of jobs,’ Trump said Tuesday.
‘The faster we go back, the better it’s going to be.’
‘Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this. It was not built to be shut down,’ Trump first said Monday.
‘My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say because we can do more than one thing at a time,’ Patrick said in the interview.
‘Don’t ruin this great American dream.’
Beck’s own comments on sacrifice come in contrast to his previous criticism of the Obama administration when he accused them of wanting to institute ‘death panels’ which would deny care to the elderly under the Affordable Care Act.
‘We care about the elderly,’ he said in 2009.
‘We value life in this country and when you start devaluing life, then you’re in trouble.’
The comments about sending sections of the population back to work also stand in stark contrast to expert advice which claims the best way to protect the economy is to cut off the virus, protecting the workforce from illness.
‘The only way to get the economy going again is to contain the virus,’ writes Christopher Hooks in Texas Monthly.
‘The only way to contain the virus is to pause the economy, and in order to do that as briefly as possible, the economic timeout has to be thorough.
‘He may well infect other people, who will infect other people, and so on,’ he adds.
‘Some of those people could die. He may give it to his wife or his grandkid before he shows symptoms, or to a nurse tending to him after he goes to the hospital.
‘And it should also be said that even if America’s elderly were unanimously willing to undergo a culling so that their grandkids can go back to happy hour, they are not the only ones vulnerable to this. It kills perfectly healthy young people.’
Opening up the economy and allowing further people to fall ill from the coronavirus would also increase pressure on the health system which is already suffering from severe shortages in personal protective equipment and ventilators as the outbreak across the countries worsens.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of more ventilators are needed by hospitals in the U.S. even in states that are already shutdown.
The COVID-19 outbreak has devastated the US stock market.
In the last month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged over 9,000 points and officials are bracing for a spike in the nation’s unemployment rate as workers are ordered to stay home and businesses are forced to shutter.
Health experts and the Trump administration itself has ordered Americans to stay at home, practice social distancing, and avoid any chance of spreading COVID-19 as the case toll in the country climbs above 54,000.
The CDC has recommended that there be no gatherings of more than 50 people for the eight weeks and that all adults over the age of 65 stay home if possible.
Trump, however, is now beginning to speak out against medical advice and is threatening to lift social distancing guidelines earlier than advised.
Governors across the nation on Tuesday rejected Trump’s new accelerated timeline for reopening the U.S. economy, as they continued to impose more restrictions on travel and public life in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Governors ultimately have control over the restrictions implemented in their states.