Hollingsworth told WIBC radio that keeping shutdowns in place to protect lives would “insult the Americans that voted us into office.” He noted that either decision would lead to harm ― one to the economy, one to lives ― but said it’s clear to him which side the government should take:
“[I]t is always the American government’s position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter,” he said.
Hollingsworth didn’t dispute the warnings from scientists but said the GDP could shrink by 20 percent this quarter.
“It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils,” he said. “It is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these two evils and we intend to move forward that direction. That is our responsibility and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office.”
Hollingsworth, who RollCall described as the 12th wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth of more than $50 million, joins a number of prominent conservatives who insist that widespread death from COVID-19 is an acceptable price for restoring the economy.
Last month, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said he was willing to put his own life on the line if it meant “keeping the America that all America loves” for future generations.
“And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said on Fox News, adding that “lots of grandparents” agree with him.
Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck echoed that sentiment.
“I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,” Beck said. “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country.”
“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver called it a “death cult” for the economy, and warned that real life wasn’t like “The Hunger Games.”
“You can’t volunteer yourself as tribute,” Oliver said. “And what you’re doing is actually much darker: You are actively volunteering others, including people of all ages with health conditions, to die.”
Twitter users weren’t too thrilled with Hollingsworth’s comments:
Look, do you want a bounteous harvest or not? pic.twitter.com/wxx1gZlY9J
— Schooley (@Rschooley) April 14, 2020
Indiana congressman Trey Hollingsworth says letting more Americans die of coronavirus is the "lesser of two evils" compared to the GDP going down and the economy tanking. Hope his constituents take note. https://t.co/qzI55ITZ70
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) April 15, 2020
“Pro-life” Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (Joseph Albert Hollingsworth III) is a 36-year-old who used daddy’s money to start a business & buy a congressional seat. He thinks you, your siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors are all expendable. https://t.co/PH3rtjtPq2
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) April 15, 2020
"Good news, Rep. Hollingsworth, our computer models show that the stock market will break 40k after we drop this piano on your head" https://t.co/UuTcQSMNo4
— Art Of Coop (@ARTofCOOP) April 15, 2020
Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth is welcome to pick up a grocery store shift. https://t.co/9hK0eASgGS
— Doug Hageman 🍞📈 (@DougHageman) April 15, 2020 A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic What you need to know about face masks right now How long are asymptomatic carriers contagious? Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know. Can someone outside of your household quarantine with you now? Everything you need to know about coronavirus and grief The HuffPost guide to working from home What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers. Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today. Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost