Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans across the board have done everything they can to not work productively on a course of action that might succeed in protecting the public and controlling the spread of the virus. The first step, led by the incompetent Trump administration, was to deny the serious nature of the pandemic. The second step was to blame China for the pandemic while both denying the seriousness of the event and not doing anything about it. The third step was to maintain that the virus, which has taken almost 1 million American lives—and claimed the lives of countless others due to the stresses on our health care infrastructure—was not serious, and any attempts at mitigating its spread through public policy were an affront to Americans’ constitutional rights.
Some of the guiltiest purveyors of misinformation and deadly public policy are the Republican officials in Texas. Whether it is Sen. Ted Cruz and his blindingly sociopathic hypocrisy, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s alternate race-baiting and declaration that grandparents should sacrifice their lives for capitalism, or Gov. Greg Abbott suing the Biden administration to stop the enactment of mask mandates, Texas Republicans have invited the fourth COVID surge in the form of the omicron variant into their state. Of course, people like Abbott are utterly shameless. He has alternated between telling the federal government to stop overreaching, and using his office to completely overreach on behalf of spreading COVID-19.
Guess who wants big government to step in and bail him out now? You get one guess.
On New Year’s Eve, Abbott asked the federal Biden administration to help open more COVID-19 testing sites in the Lone Star State, as well as for more shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments. He needs these because, as in many other areas of the country, the virus is surging once again. Of course, places like Texas are in more serious need of these treatments as hospitalizations and severe cases are also surging in the state. Abbott, who has rarely promoted vaccinations but was an early booster receiver, tested positive for the virus this past August.
You would think this might change a person’s mind. You would be wrong. The second most populated state in the union only has a 56.9% rate of full vaccination. That low rate is in no small part due to Texas leadership. In October, instead of working on getting testing facilities up and running and vaccines into arms, Abbott and other state GOP officials were maskless and down at the border creating racist, anti-immigrant political theater. The anti-science public policy politics played by the GOP in the state have led to sad examples of what happens when elected officials do not care about their constituents.
The news that Texas was in COVID-related trouble came around the same time that Patrick, who has also attacked mask mandates and stay-at-home policies, began having “symptoms [that] were mild.” Patrick announced on Monday that he recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Abbott, who is now begging for a bail-out, is trying to make it sound like the Biden administration is to blame for his bad policies and the previous administration’s incompetence. You might remember that in June 2020, the Trump administration stopped funding seven coronavirus testing sites even as both Democratic representatives and Republican ones asked that the sites continue being funded. You know which Republican didn’t fight the Trump administration’s decision? You guessed it.
"The good news is there is a strategy that will supplant and actually be superior to that strategy [that] we will be announcing soon," Abbott told KTVT-TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pressed for a timeline, Abbott said the announcement would come "hopefully within a week."
Abbott’s NYE declaration that “The State of Texas is urging the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the resources necessary to help protect Texans” rings a tad hollow.
Here’s a link to Abbott’s executive order “prohibiting vaccine mandates.” That was in October.