'I’m not willing to sacrifice anyone’: San Antonio mayor fires back at Dan Patrick for coronavirus comments

‘It’s easy for someone of power and privilege to say something so callous,’ Ron Nirenberg said

Mayor Ron Nirenberg (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Tuesday criticized Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over remarks the state’s second-highest ranking public official made on Fox News Monday over the handling of the coronavirus by some cities.

Patrick suggested on Fox News on Monday night that he would rather die from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus than see instability in the American economic system.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says a failing economy is worse than coronavirus

“No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” he said. “And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that,” Patrick said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Nirenberg took exception with Patrick’s attitude that a failing economy is worse than the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s easy for someone of power and privilege to say something so callous,” Nirenberg said. "What Dan Patrick is coming to learn is something that most Americans have known for a long time. Which is, a single health event can become catastrophic.

“I would tell you as Mayor of San Antonio, I’m not willing to sacrifice anyone of my residents, let alone those workers on the front lines of this battle, the health care workers, or the 100,000+ veterans in this community who are older Americans, who have served this country. It’s time that we step up and serve them.”

When asked if he thought remarks by Patrick makes his job harder when he’s trying to keep the virus from spreading, Nirenberg said, “It certainly sends a mixed message... I’ve been working with the mayors and the county judges in other parts of the state to make sure that in the event of inaction from our state and federal government, we’re going to make sure we protect our residents.”

Nirenberg said hospital capacity in San Antonio is good for the time being, but he knows things are going to get worse before they get better.

“We expect the number to go up because Texas has just begun to start rolling tests, and that’s critically important to get an assessment of where we are with this disease. But we expect to be aggressive, to remain swift with the action, and we’re going to do everything we can to get through this as quickly and as effectively as possible, he said.”

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.