Dan Patrick appeared on Fox News last Thursday to spread disinformation regarding unvaccinated groups.
When asked about the recent controversy surrounding pandemic handling by Texan authorities amidst the worst surge yet, Patrick blamed African Americans, who according to him represent the largest unvaccinated group.
“Democrats like to blame Republicans on that,” Patrick responded. “Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The last time I checked, over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.”
The Lieutenant Governor’s comments quickly sparked online outrage, including from fellow Republican and former Texas GOP chair Allen West, who took his response to Twitter.
“I find the comments of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blaming unvaccinated Black people for COVID spread in Texas disgusting, unconscionable, utterly disturbing, and highly insulting,” West tweeted, “Patrick must immediately issue a statement of apology for his insidious comment”.
Despite vaccination rates among Black Texas being low, Patrick’s comments have been labeled as racists and ultimately false, as according to state data reported by The Hill, the highest rates of coronavirus infections in the state have been reported among white and Hispanic people.
Non-Hispanic white people reportedly account for nearly 35 percent of coronavirus cases, while Hispanics make up about 35.8 percent of the cases in the state.
According to the Texas Tribune, Sen. Borris Miles, a Black Democrat from Houston, released a statement Friday morning saying that “for the second time in the past month, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has made prejudiced, inflammatory statements about African Americans and that is unacceptable.”
This, however, is not the first time Dan Patrick has made discriminatory statements targeting vulnerable groups.
Last March, Patrick faced a sharp backlash for suggesting that older Americans should sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by the Washington Post.
The Lt. Governor has been receiving many disapproving responses ever since, including from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who responded to Patrick’s most recent remarks by tweeting “The Lt. Governor’s statements are offensive and should not be ignored”.
“Making a statement that casts blame on a racial or ethnic minority for the spread of disease is a well-known racist trope that predates most of us,” said Jorge Caballero, a former instructor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “People are already getting hurt by this virus, and it makes absolutely no sense for us to add insult to injury.”