- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 23, 2020

Beto O’Rourke, former Texas congressman and one-time Democratic presidential hopeful, spoke out late Friday against the Lone Star State’s response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. O’Rourke took to Twitter to sharply criticize how the Republican administrations of both President Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have countered the coronavirus outbreak.

Citing a new study about COVID-19, the contagious disease the coronavirus causes, Mr. O’Rourke noted Texas tops a list of states where it is spreading at an uncontrollable rate.

“A deadly lesson in failed leadership: Texas leads the country in uncontrolled spread of coronavirus. Despite what Trump & co. (Abbott & Patrick) say, stay home if you can & wear a mask if you have to go out. It will save lives,” Mr. O’Rourke tweeted, referring to the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick.

Mr. O’Rourke further slammed the state’s handling of the outbreak later Friday in response to a tweet posted by the governor’s official account.

“Texas is Opening Safe, Smart, and Strong,” Mr. Abbott tweeted, prompting Mr. O’Rourke to counter: “Dangerous, dumb and weak.”

Most states began to impose travel and business restrictions starting in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, and all have since begun the process of reopening.

The study cited by Mr. O’Rourke the subject of a report published by The Washington Post on Friday that he subsequently shared from his widely-followed Twitter account.

Texas reported its most new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in a single day —1,801 — last Saturday, the Post report noted, roughly two weeks since the state began to reopen.

Mr. O’Rourke, 47, served on the El Paso City Council prior to serve three terms representing the state’s 16th congressional district on Capitol Hill. He launched his White House campaign in March 2019 and ended it nearly a full year later. He has since endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden to run as the Democratic presidential nominee in November.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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