A group of conservatives, including an influential Texas activist, penned an open letter to President Donald Trump this week, asking him to restart the economy and “let Americans manage their own risks,” while decrying expanded government benefits as a step toward socialism.
“Sadly, many state and local governments are not following the personal responsibility approach you advocated,” they wrote. “They are using wrong and confusing data to strip Americans of basic liberties, and to advance tyranny at an alarming rate.”
The letter was written by Tim Dunn, the chair of the Tea Party-aligned activist group Empower Texans — whose political action committee has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Texas conservatives — as well as the co-founders of the Urban Revitalization Coalition and the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Darrell Scott and Kareem Lanier.
It comes as pressure on President Trump from members of the Republican Party to lift virus restrictions continues to build despite warnings from epidemiologists and public health officials who predict the number of Texans infected with COVID-19 will peak in late April or May.
WORDS OF CAUTION: Texas pandemic expert says coronavirus will have 5 stages. We’re in stage 2.
Texas Rep. Chip Roy was one of the earliest proponents of a quick reopening of the economy and on Monday commended the letter as “well said” on Twitter. He expanded on that comment in a statement Tuesday.
“It’s critical for the health and well-being of our state and nation that we re-start our economy,” Roy said. “Our supply chains, health care resources, food channels, energy sources — all of these depend on re-start. We can do it in ways to protect the elderly, the most vulnerable, and with precautions for everyone to minimize spread of the virus.”
Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots who has since resigned from the group and now runs a group called Citizens for Self-Governance, and state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, also applauded the letter on social media.
The letter to Trump says vulnerable populations should be able to continue to quarantine with the support of their communities but that economic activity should also be allowed to resume.
TEXAS TAKE: Get political headlines from across the state sent directly to your inbox
The letter alludes to how the hit to the economy has caused joblessness to skyrocket with a record 16.8 million Americans applying for unemployment in the past three weeks. The lockdown, the letter writers said, has “incentivized” this dependence on the government, rather than “personal responsibility,” and is all part of Democrats’ political agenda.
“Your political opponents are advocating an indefinite shutdown, ignoring the models,” they wrote. “They do so because our national crisis is an opportunity to steer the country toward socialism.”