Indiana Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth actually admitted to caring less about American lives than he does about the economy Tuesday in a WIBC radio interview. Hollingsworth said he recognizes the biological challenge of the coronavirus but the economic challenge is "growing and much, much larger." He said he wants to get Americans “back to work, back to their businesses, back to school, and back to churches” where they want to be.
When asked his response to people who tell him “you’re going to get people killed, Congressman Hollingsworth,” the legislator said, “there is no zero harm choice here. Both of these decisions will lead to harm for individuals, whether that’s dramatic economic harm or whether that's the loss of life," Hollingsworth said. "But it is always the American government's position to say in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter."
Hollingsworth attempted to clarify his statement Wednesday with IndyStar. He told the newspaper he was trying to explain a need for better planning as officials make difficult decisions regarding the pandemic. "I believe that I stood up and said on a radio show, we are going to have to make tough decisions going forward," Hollingsworth told IndyStar, "and we owe a plan that acknowledges the reality that the risk of coronavirus will never be equal to zero and there are costs associated with this shutdown of our economy, real costs that Hoosiers and Americans are bearing.
"What I got back was Trey wants people to die. I never said that, and it's not true."
Hollingsworth, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, said the country’s gross domestic product is expected to fall 20% this quarter alone, and legislators have to work to improve economic conditions even in the face of what science tells us about the progression of the coronavirus. “It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say this is the lesser of these two evils, and it is not zero evil,” he said. “But it is the lesser of these evils and we intend to move forward that direction. That is our responsibility and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office.”
Social media users wasted little time calling the congressman out for his dangerous and selfish priorities. "Trey Hollingsworth is ‘pro-life’, y'all," op-ed writer Holly Figueroa O'Reilly tweeted. Luke Turner, page to former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, said he is “once again disappointed” in his congressman. “How dare you tell working families that they have to go back to work and put themselves in danger, when you have been too scared to host a single town hall in three years,” Turner tweeted. Scott Dworkin, a co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, called the congressman's words "wrong" in his tweet. "The evil is actually monsters saying absurd s--- like this," Dworkin said.
A 2018 video, however, reminds onlookers of exactly why they shouldn’t be surprised by Hollingsworth’s commitment to his own prosperity. He’s serving his second term as Indiana's 9th congressional district representative. Liz Watson, the congressman’s former opponent for the seat, said Hollingsworth put up $3 million and his dad drudged up $1.5 million from a Super PAC to buy his congressional seat four years ago.
“He’s a Tennessean who decided to waltz in here in 2016 taking advantage of the chaos downticket from Trump to buy our congressional seat out from under us,” she said, “and then his singular accomplishment during his term in Congress has been to give himself a $4.5 million tax cut.” He essentially “broke even,” spending $4.5 million and recouping $4.5 million, so two years later he decided to “go back and double his money,” Watson said.
In the words of MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid, let's "hope his constituents take note” this time.