While President Donald Trump is signaling that he plans to try reopen the U.S. economy as soon as May 1, some of his allies in Congress are suggesting that he needs to do so even sooner and complaining that “hype” about fatalities caused by coronavirus is holding back the nation.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told Politico that elected officials have to make the hard choices and look past the deaths, which now stand at 26,000 and rising:
“You’re dealing with a lot of hype about fatalities. I don’t know anybody that wants to be the person who says, ‘33,000 deaths is okay, but 100,000 is not acceptable.’ But that’s what officials are elected to do.”
Officials are elected to consign Americans to their graves in the interest of the bottom line? Good luck trying to get reelected with that as a campaign slogan.
Other GOP lawmakers are being more diplomatic with their remarks, but are also pushing the president to fast track a lifting of the national stay at home order.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) remarked:
“We’re extremely unlikely to overwhelm our hospital capacities. In fact, in a matter of days and in some cases the moment may even have passed, that we’ve reached the peak of the rate of infections. This is a completely unsustainable place we’re in.”
The real fear coming from Republicans has less to do with the economy than it does their own political future, which looks bleak if the economic picture doesn’t improve soon:
“Looming over it all is November. Despite Trump’s middling approval ratings, the relatively hot economy buoyed GOP hopes of keeping the Senate and the White House. The coronavirus has laid that to waste, but Republicans believe their chances could improve if the economy can make a quick turnaround.”
You can almost hear the sense of existential angst felt by nervous Republicans in remarks made by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX):
“I’m a big fan of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. I think they’ve done a great job. But their job is public health. We also need to realize that we can’t continue like this for a long time without there being enormous personal and economic consequences.”
Translation: Your life doesn’t matter. All that matters to the GOP is the bottom line and the almighty dollar. Everything –and everyone– is expendable.
Featured Image Via Fox News