Appearing in an interview on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday evening, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lambasted Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and one of the nation’s top experts on infectious diseases.
Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is consistently viewed as one of the most trusted voices on COVID-19 in the country. Earlier on Tuesday, he testified to a Senate panel on the disease, opining that several states had reopened their economies too quickly and had skipped “over some of the checkpoints” necessary to reopening in a safer way.
“I’m very concerned about what’s going on right now, particularly in the four states that are accounting for about 50 percent of the new infections,” Fauci said.
Texas is among the four states Fauci was alluding to, which apparently caused Patrick to lash out at him on Tuesday night.
The lieutenant governor, who once suggested it was acceptable to “exchange” the lives of seniors in order to save the economy, claimed Fauci was “wrong every time on every issue” related to coronavirus, but wouldn’t elaborate on what he was wrong about. He further suggested that Fauci was ignorant of what was happening in Texas.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Patrick said of Fauci during his interview with Ingraham. “We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”
Despite Texas being among the “fastest” states in the country to end stay-at-home orders and reopen its economy, Patrick insisted that he and other state leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, would “listen to a lot of science” going forward — but as far as the top scientist in the field of infectious diseases goes, Patrick said in the interview, “no thank you, Dr. Fauci.”
Patrick recognized, however, that closing bars in Texas, a move that was recently made in response to rising COVID-19 numbers, was the right decision to make. However, he also seemed to pass blame for the spread of the disease away from himself and the governor, placing it instead on younger people by saying they need to help “bring the cases down.”
On the same day that Patrick spoke on Fox News, Texas announced it had identified close to 7,000 new coronavirus cases within a single day — a record-high for the state in a daily period of time.
While Patrick was reticent to recognize Fauci’s warnings on what states like Texas had done in reopening too early, Abbott seemed to have at least acknowledged some mistakes were made. In a recent radio interview on the topic, the governor expressed remorse over allowing certain industries to open up the way that they did.
“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” Abbott said.