The lieutenant governor of Texas, who was criticized last month for saying it was worth risking lives to return to work if that meant saving the economy, has doubled down on his comments.
Dan Patrick, who turned 70 this month, faced a social media backlash in March for telling Fox News that many of his generation were willing to "take a chance" and return to work because an economy that was shut down by the coronavirus would harm future generations.
As parts of Texas started to reopen this week following weeks of restrictions, Patrick defended his comments on Monday, telling anchor Tucker Carlson again that the recent economic hardship had left him "vindicated."
"When you start shutting down society and people start losing their paychecks and businesses can't open and governments aren't getting revenues...I'm sorry to say that I was right on this," he said.
Using data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Tribune reported that as of Monday, the death toll in the state stood at 495, with 19,458 positive tests.
Patrick went on: "There are more important things than living, and that's saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.
"I don't want to die, nobody wants to die but man we have got to take some risk and get back in the game and get this country back up and running," he told the Tucker Carlson Tonight host.
While health officials warn that states should not reopen businesses too quickly for fear of a spike in COVID-19 cases, some governors across the country are starting to announce timelines to ease restrictions.
Last week, President Donald Trump announced guidelines that would allow "governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states."
GOP Texas lieutenant governor says we need to take risk to get back to work: "There are more important things than living"
Dan Patrick defended comments he made last month on Fox News, telling Tucker Carlson that sacrifices might be needed to save future generations.