As social isolation drags on, and the economy continues to suffer, pressure is mounting on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to unveil a plan for what comes next. Abbott appears to be giving some serious thought to the idea, even as he tries to tamp down expectations that he’s preparing to lift his order for nonessential businesses to stay closed.
Bob Garrett is he state capitol bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. He says Abbott wants to reopen the Texas economy “slowly, strategically, safely.”
Abbott will soon appoint a task force to advise him on next steps.
“[The task force will], I suppose, lend cover or credibility to what he’s going to propose,” Garrett says. “It’s hard not to believe that he’s kind of just buying some time because I seriously doubt he knows what he wants to do, much less what he can sell politically [and to the] public health-wise.”
Abbott announced a $50 million loan program to aid small businesses. The money will come from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program.
“They’re supposed to encourage small businesses to keep people on payrolls,” Garrett says. “They’re going to be forgivable loans.”
Some fellow Republicans have challenged Abbott. Garrett says the libertarian and “anti-science” wings of the Republican Party want less control over people and businesses. These Republicans are also critical of mayors and other municipal leaders, many of whom are Democrats.
“There’s a lot of concern among certain staunchly conservative Republicans that Abbott’s not moving fast enough to reopen the economy,” Garrett says.
Abbott has attempted to stay close to President Donald Trump, and has received praise from the president in return.
“It’s been sort of a model of how a Republican red-state governor stays on the good side of the White House,” Garrett says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.