Former Democrat presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke ripped the GOP leadership in his home state of Texas over its coronavirus response.
During a Tuesday interview with MSNBC, O’Rourke called the Texas Republican Party a “death cult.”
“This is a death cult, the Texas GOP. Only they want you to do the dying,” he said.
His comments come as coronavirus cases in the state surge. He blasted Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's response to the pandemic.
“This is one of the most craven, callous failures of leadership that I’ve ever witnessed in my life,” he said.
He noted that hospitals are nearing capacity and that bodies are being stored in refrigerated trucks because the morgues are totally full.
The former congressman criticized Abbott for blocking local government officials from enforcing their own restrictions.
He referenced Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, who put out an emergency order on Monday that mandated people shelter in their residences and restricted travel and limited gatherings. The issue established a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless there is a medical emergency or a person is an essential worker.
But under Abbott’s statewide order, local governments can’t enforce their own stay-at-home rules.
O'Rourke said that Abbott is making a choice to "allow people to die when he could choose to allow county judges to save their lives."
He pointed out that residents in Hidalgo County are 95% Mexican American, adding that Latinos and African Americans are disproportionally impacted by the virus.
Texas State Health Services reports that the state averaged 9,358 new cases per day and 10,604 current hospitalizations within the last week.
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