Fox News' Brit Hume Defends Risking Older People's Lives 'to Allow the Economy to Move Forward' in Coronavirus Shutdown

Fox News contributor Brit Hume has defended controversial comments a Republican official had made on the network that older people should be prepared to risk going back to work during the coronavirus shutdown to protect the U.S. economy.

Hume was asked by Fox anchor Tucker Carlson what he thought of the view of his guest from the previous night, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who said "let's get back to work," and that "those of us who are 70 plus, we will take care of ourselves but don't sacrifice the country."

Patrick's opinion was condemned by many on social media who interpreted it as a call for older people, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the economy.

Last night Dan Patrick said grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy. Tonight Brit Hume said its "an entirely reasonable viewpoint"

— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 25, 2020

But Hume told the host of Tucker Carlson Tonight that Patrick's view was "not terribly different" from what President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been saying, namely that "this circumstance as we try to beat this virus, is not sustainable," and that the "utter collapse of the country's an intolerable result."

"He is saying...that he'd be willing to take a risk of getting the disease, if that's what it took to allow the economy to move forward," Hume said, "because he's late in life...that he would be perhaps more willing then he might've been at a younger age, which seems to me to be an entirely reasonable viewpoint."

Hume referred to the seasonal influenza which kills thousands of people each year, adding, "we do not shut down the economy to combat it. We don't shut down the economy to save every single life that's threatened by a widespread disease. We just don't."

Hume believed the pushback to Patrick's comments were because "we are living in a country in which people's reactions to nearly everything have something to do with, when they drill down, with how they feel about Donald Trump...I think some of the reaction to it may flow from that."

However Patrick's comments were criticized by mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, who told CNN that "it's easy for someone of power and privilege to say something so callous."

Nirenberg told CNN he was "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."

On the same network, anchor Chris Cuomo also criticized the Texas lieutenant governor's view, saying, "it's absurd. We don't put a price on people's life."

"As a people we should face things together because that is the only damn thing that has ever gotten us anywhere," Cuomo added. Newsweek has contacted Lt Gov. Patrick's office for comment.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is pictured in Washington, DC. in March 2019. On his Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, he has interviewed Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and Fox contributor Brit Hume, about the role older people should play in the coronavirus shutdown. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images