AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday evening, former Texas Congressman and former 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke took to Twitter to call out Gov. Greg Abbott for what he says is a “negligent” handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a response to a quote by Abbott during an interview with KFDM in Beaumont, Abbott said that local leaders who were calling for another stay-at-home order and shut down of businesses failed to enforce current executive orders already in place.
Abbott said in part:
“They ask for more and more, but they do absolutely nothing.”
In response, O’Rourke, who ran against — and nearly beat — Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate election, tweeted:
“Abbott opens Texas too soon, issues mask order too late, denies local leaders authority to contain the virus — causing uncontrolled COVID spread, many hospitalized & soon dead because of his negligence — and then blames local officials? Pathetic. Resign.”
Abbott has not yet responded to O’Rourke, but Abbott did respond to criticism from former Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that California is also seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. He said that was despite California shutting down its economy longer, suggesting that the reopening of the Texas economy is not solely to blame for the state’s increase in cases.
A review of O’Rourke’s Twitter account shows the former congressman did not criticize Gov. Abbott when he reopened the Texas economy on May 1 or for three weeks after. However, O’Rourke was openly critical of the governor on May 22, the day Texas reopened bars, a move even Abbott later said he regretted.