Right-wing Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, who pushed for reopening the state amid the coronavirus pandemic and compared the shutdown to “socialism,” says he thought he was going to die after recently testing positive for COVID-19.
“Though I am not quite back to 100% health, I am feeling much better and continue to self isolate and heal inside my home,” Tinderholt wrote on Facebook on Friday afternoon. “I praise the Lord for keeping my family safe and for sending an excellent medical professional who was not afraid to practice the medicine he felt was in the best interest of his patients.”
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tinderholt’s treatment did not include hydroxychloroquine because doctors thought it would be too risky given that he has a titanium heart valve.
The Texas Tribune reports: “I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last,” Tinderholt, an Arlington Republican, said in a text message to the Tribune. Tinderholt said his wife and two of his children also tested positive for the virus, though their symptoms were less severe. … Tinderholt is a member of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has frequently criticized Gov. Greg Abbott’s response to the pandemic — shutting down businesses and requiring masks in public — as government overreach. In an April 24 letter to the governor, the caucus urged Abbott to “fully reopen” the state economy, arguing that the longer he waited to reopen, the longer it would take to recover.
Tinderholt also called for a special session of the Legislature to overturn Abbott’s statewide mask mandate. In his own letter to the governor, Tinderholt said the Founding Fathers would be “rolling over in their graves” if they witnessed the “massive growth in government power” that occurred when people were “gripped with fear” in the early days of the pandemic.
“Therefore, if we allow government to continue to grow one more iota over this level of threat, then we are ushering in the very foundations of socialism,” Tinderholt wrote. “The question I would encourage you ask yourself is this: do you want to be the governor who helped socialism take root in Texas or one who stood for freedom in the midst of great pressure? I know we both stand for freedom and personal liberty over socialist ideals. However, they will take root if we do not permanently change this course now.”
Tinderholt is perhaps best known to the LGBT community for filing an ethics complaint against the first judge to perform a same-sex marriage in Texas. Tinderholt has been married five times, including one relationship that ended with a restraining order against him. The lesbian couple involved in Texas’ first same-sex marriage had been together for 30 years, and one of the women was gravely ill with ovarian cancer.
Last year, Tinderholt introduced a bill that would have made it possible for women to get the death penalty for having abortions.