Ed Asner would very much like Betty White to live. Also Carl Reiner, William Shatner, Mel Brooks, and Cloris Leachman. Oh, and himself.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Emmy-winning TV legend (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant) directed a tweet at Donald Trump in response to the president’s comments which insinuated that he plans to reopen the country in weeks. Doing so would defy the pleas of public health experts and put vulnerable populations of the country, including the elderly, at higher risk of deadly battles with the novel coronavirus.
“Waking up to find that @realDonaldTrump and many other people (?) feel that seniors such as me and @carlreiner , @WilliamShatner , @MelBrooks , @BettyMWhite , @Cloris_Leachman and millions of other seniors/people with underlying medical issues are expendable in a #ReopenAmerica scenario,” Asner tweeted.
The discourse began late Sunday night, when Trump tweeted, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
He’s since said he’s looking to “open up the country” in a matter of weeks, leading conservative commentators to echo his insinuation that the economy should be prioritized over the lives of those who are most vulnerable in the pandemic. In one controversial interview with Fox News, Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, suggested that “lots of grandparents” would be willing to risk death from the virus in order to prevent further collapse of the economy from social-distancing mandated government shutdowns.
In response to these suggestions, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted Tuesday, “My mother is not expendable and your mother is not expendable and our brothers and sisters are not expendable and we’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable and we’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life.”
Waking up to find that @realDonaldTrump and many other people (?) feel that seniors such as me and @carlreiner , @WilliamShatner , @MelBrooks , @BettyMWhite , @Cloris_Leachman and millions of other seniors/people with underlying medical issues are expendable in a #ReopenAmerica— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) March 24, 2020
Riffing on that idea, Asner followed up his tweet with a Twitter poll. “As I sat eating an oatmeal raisin cookie I wondered. What do people think about this?” The two options: “slow the curve at a cost,” and “reopen at a cost of life.” As of Tuesday afternoon, over 95 percent of respondents voted the former.
Asner isn’t alone in sounding the alarm on the severity of the threat the coronavirus poses to the senior population—specifically at-risk entertainment legends. Brooks filmed a PSA with his son, Max Brooks, about why it’s necessary to socially distance ourselves, even from loved ones.