DAN Patrick is the current Lieutenant Governor of Texas.
The Republican hit the headlines after he blamed rising hospitalization and death rates from Covid-19 on unvaccinated black people.
Who is Dan Patrick?
Patrick, 71, was born Dannie Scott Goeb in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 4, 1950.
He became the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of Texas in January 2015 under Greg Abbott.
Patrick started his professional life as a radio and television broadcaster.
He then started a chain of sports bars but after going bankrupt he then moved back to being a radio host again, this time as a conservative commentator.
From 2007 to 2015, Patrick was a Republican member of the Texas Senate for the 7th District.
Patrick has come out strongly against abortion, even in cases of incest and rape.
In January 2014, when he was asked about exceptions to outlawing abortion, Patrick said: "The only exception would be if the life of the mother was truly in danger… but that is rare."
He has also spoken out against same-sex marriages.
Is he married?
Patrick has been married twice with his first ending in divorce.
Former teacher Janetlea "Jan" Patricia Rankin is his second wife and they married in 1975.
They have two children – Ryan and Shane.
Ryan served as a district judge from Harris County, Texas, and swore in his father in 2015, for his term as lieutenant governor of Texas.
What did Dan Patrick say?
Patrick caused outrage during a segment on Fox News on August 19, 2021, when he responded to a question about surging coronavirus cases in his state.
The Republican Lieutenant Governor said: "The biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated."
Patrick – who has been called out for his comments around the Covid-19 pandemic in the past – was quick to receive widespread criticism for his comments, with many denouncing his views as racist.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is black, said on Twitter, “The Lt. Governor’s statements are offensive and should not be ignored.”
Rodney Ellis, a black commissioner for the county that encompasses Houston, tweeted that Patrick’s comments were “racist and flat out wrong”.
On Friday, Patrick doubled down on his claims, saying “Democrat social media trolls” misstated facts and that he had used state data in his assertions.
However, various news sources pointed out that such data does not necessarily back up Patrick's claims.
Black people — who make up about 12 percent of the more than 29million people in Texas — accounted for about 15 percent of total Covid-19 cases and just more than 10 percent of deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
According to the Texas Tribute, there are an estimated 5.6m white people who are eligible and unvaccinated, while the same figure is 1.9m for Black people, who make up a far smaller part of the overall population.
The full vaccination rate among Black people in Texas is 29 per cent, lower than the rates for Asian, Hispanic and white Texans.
Patrick also told Fox News that Democrats were to blame for low vaccination rates among Black people, who frequently support that party, even though he believes Republicans should persuade more people to get their shots, too.
He also tiptoed around that issue, which has been sensitive for the GOP.
Patrick said: “But we respect the fact that if people don’t want the vaccination, we’re not going to force it on them. That’s their individual right.”
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