Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told Breitbart News on Saturday that his state is “leading the nation” in vaccine distribution as part of an exclusive interview that came just after Texas became the first state to vaccinate a million residents from the coronavirus.
“We’re showing the country how to get this done,” Abbott said on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel. “But the first thing I want to convey to your audience a standard we have in the state of Texas is when it comes to vaccines: they are always voluntary, never forced or required. People have a choice in Texas whether they want to take a vaccine or not. For those who do want to take a vaccine, we have created a very robust system to make sure we are getting this out as quickly as possible. One thing that we did where we led the nation is we were the first to pivot to ensuring that anybody aged 65 and older would be able to get access to the vaccine. The original strategy by the federal government was too complicated and it slowed things down too much. Also, we wanted to target the people who would be most likely to either lose life or face the harsh consequences from COVID [Chinese coronavirus]. That is people aged 65 and older. If we exclude that group, hardly anybody loses life.”
Abbott also said Texas has created dozens of hubs around the state at which residents can receive the vaccine if they choose to do so.
“The second thing we did was we created these massive hubs,” Abbott said. “We have 28 hubs in the state of Texas, where each of these hubs provide between one and four thousand vaccinations per day. Then in addition to those hubs we also have more than 200 other locations across the state that provide hundreds of vaccinations per day. Through that process, we are able to get people in and out typically within a few hours in a day. A location is going to be able to provide thousands upon thousands of vaccines and our goal is to make sure we get all of those vaccines out as quickly as possible because one thing we really want to do in Texas is we want to get COVID behind us and get people back to work and get back to normal as it was before COVID and the best way to do that is to make sure we get these vaccines out. One more thing I’ll tell you and that is not only is Texas leading the nation with regard to the number of vaccines distributed, if you look at all the top 20 states in the United States we also have the greatest percentage of vaccines that we have that have been actually administered to people. We are now at about 70 percent of vaccines that have been delivered to Texas have been administered to people in our state. So we are rocking and rolling with regard to making sure we are getting people in the state of Texas who want a vaccine to get a vaccine.”
Other red states, like Florida and South Dakota, are also seeing similar success with vaccine distribution, while blue states like New York and California, under Democrat leadership, have failed in the early days of vaccine distribution. Abbott attributed the GOP successes, and Democrat failures, to unnecessary bureaucracy in blue states that stands in the way of distributing and administering the vaccine.
“In typical fashion, the Democrat states are typically more bureaucratic,” Abbott told Breitbart News. “When it comes to something like mass and swift distribution of something like vaccines, you need to dispense with all the bureaucracy. You just need to execute. And, Republicans and red states are better at executing than Democrats who get bogged down in the slowness that goes along with bureaucracy.”
Abbott, whose state was one of the first to begin reopening as far back as late April last year, said that despite the pandemic Texas had the best year it has ever had in terms of economic development. As the state continues to fight the pandemic into early 2021, and aims to put it behind the state this year as the vaccine gets further distributed, Abbott said that he believes Texas could have an even better 2021 economically.
“It’s twofold. One, it’s just making sure we continue to execute the release of the vaccine and vaccinate our population so every aspect of our business will be able to get back to normal as quickly as possible,” Abbott said when asked what’s next for beating the coronavirus pandemic. “Candidly, what we are doing is we are looking very forward. You mentioned businesses and things like that. During the course of 2020, the pandemic year, Texas—which always ranks number one in the United States for economic development, there’s an award given out for this it’s called the Governor’s Cup. Every year that I’ve been governor Texas has received the Governor’s Cup as the number one state in America for new economic projects. Believe it or not, 2020 was our best year ever. We are seeing Texas explode with regard to economic development. Already, 2021 is lining up to be maybe even better than 2020. We have 200 projects in our pipeline as we are speaking today. We are pedal to the metal not only with regard to business but coming back even better. We operate on a two-year budget cycle that we’re going into which begins this coming September. I believe our two-year budget cycle this coming two years will be better than it has ever been. We’re going to come out of this pandemic bigger, stronger, and more powerful and more entrepreneurial than we’ve ever been in Texas.”
What’s more, Abbott said that a massive influx of people continues to move to Texas from failed blue states like California and New York. The highest profile one is tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, whom Abbott described as a “natural conservative,” but millions more are coming from blue states. Even so, Abbott said, they are not hurting the state’s conservative and Republican pedigree, as the people who are coming are conservatives — while liberals from Texas are leaving for the Democrat havens in places like California.
“It has completely accelerated,” Abbot said when asked about the trend of people moving to Texas from blue states. “Elon is maybe the highest profile person, but there are so many more like him. Elon actually has become a very good friend of mine, and we communicate every single week. He’s a true conservative and he’s against big government. He knows big government slows his ability to grow and expand all of his businesses. Remember this, people think of Elon Musk and they think of Tesla — which now has a massive operation in Texas. But another thing he’s doing at the exact same time is SpaceX. SpaceX launches are taking place in the state of Texas. Then he has The Boring Company, which he’s also working in the state of Texas. But here’s the point I want to get to because I want to make sure you and your audience know what I’m about to say. Typically, when people talk about people coming from California or wherever to the state of Texas they think oh they’re just going to turn Texas blue. I can prove factually that is not the case. For one, I’ve talked to these business leaders who are coming here and they fit within the profile of what you would think. That is if you like big government and you like high taxes, and you like all of these social programs and leftist social agendas, the last place you would leave is California and the last place you would come to is the state of Texas. I have math supporting what I’m about to tell you and that is two elections ago, not the presidential election but the midterm election before. I was on the ballot and that was the big race between [Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-TX] and [then-Democrat Senate candidate] Beto O’Rourke. We did exit polls after people had voted and we did a poll that said did you vote for me or my opponent and did you vote for Ted Cruz or Beto O’Rourke. Then we asked the question if you moved to Texas from California or if you were a native-born Texan. Believe it or not, Ted Cruz got 57 percent of the vote from people who moved from California. Ted Cruz got a higher percent of the vote of people who moved from California than he did from native-born Texans. So here’s what’s going on. There are a lot of people who are coming from California to Texas every year and they are more conservative and believe it or not, there are a lot of Texans who move to California every year. So, what I think is going on is conservatives from California are moving to Texas and liberals from Texas are moving to California.”
Abbott concluded the interview by saying the future for Republicans and conservatives is “very bright,” despite the fact that the Democrats are going to have complete control in Washington when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in Wednesday. When Biden is sworn in, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will head to the U.S. Senate to break the tie in that chamber and hand control of the Senate to the Democrats — who already have a majority, albeit a much slimmer one than last year, in the U.S. House. Despite this, Abbott believes that conservative principles will win the day in the long run as evidenced by the continued success of states like Texas.
“The future is going to be very bright,” Abbott said. “First, I’ll tell you this thing that will cause tears for the Democrats and that is because of the population growth we’ve seen in the state of Texas, Texas will gain electoral college votes with the redistricting process that will take place this year. California and New York each will lose electoral college votes. Texas will be even more prolific going forward in future presidential elections and also with regard to the size of our congressional delegation we should pick up maybe three seats this year. But with regard to the conservative movement going forward, listen: Conservative principles aren’t going away. One thing we have found in Texas is that conservatives principles are what drives the state and it’s also what drives people to the state of Texas. So if we double down on conservative principles, and obviously we understand that people run their lives better than government runs their lives. One reason why Texas is so strong with regard to economic development is we know we can’t run these businesses, they can better than government can. When you have California and New York trying to regulate these businesses, that destroys those businesses. But we have to go back to the core values of freedom, freedom as established in the Constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. We saw in places like New York in the course of the pandemic they were shutting down churches. In the state of Texas, we have made sure that churches remained open. But also focusing on the Second Amendment. You see some of these people, and maybe all of these people, who ran for president on the Democrat side. They were talking about coming to get your guns. Texas is a Second Amendment sanctuary state. In fact, just yesterday it was announced that the NRA is moving to the great state of Texas.”
LISTEN TO GOV. GREG ABBOTT ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY: