Tinderholt Suggests that Masks Failed Family
Amid Revelations on Near Death Experience
Tinderholt Blasts Abbott for Masks
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
July 31, 2020
The state reported 295 new coronavirus fatalities on one hand and none on the other on Friday when a Texas lawmaker revealed that the disease had him on the brink of death a week ago.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt - an Arlington Republican who's been a tea party stalwart - said that he and his wife and two children had tested positive for COVID-19 despite the family's religious adherence to the Texas mask mandate.
Some people who'd seen Tinderholt recently in public say he didn't have his face covered at the time. But the third-term legislator gave the impression that the masks that he claimed that he and his family wore every time they left their home had proven to be ineffective in their particular case.
Tinderholt suggested that he'd been treated by a physician who'd used unconventional methods that the lawmaker didn't specify. Several doctors who've been associated with the hard right have been following President Donald Trump's advice by prescribing the drug hycroxychloroquine to virus patients despite warning from medical experts on its potential dangers.
“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,” Tinderholt said.
The pandemic body count in Texas would have climbed to 6,570 today if Tinderholt hadn't survived the bout with the virus that had him in the hospital last week. The Department of State Health Services reported 295 new coronavirus fatalities on Friday in a development that pushed the official total to 6,569 late this afternoon.
But the state agency didn't record a single new death from the disease on Friday in its daily breakdown on fatalities in individual counties despite an identical cumulative count. The Texas COVID-19 Fatality Data by Count shows that only 197 people died statewide from coronavirus infections here in the past week.
Tinderholt offered a half-hearted endorsements for masks as a safeguard that might have some value. That's the kind of message that conservatives who've been bashing Governor Greg Abbott for his pandemic restrictions have been wanting to hear regardless of whether his personal account is true.
Tinderholt is the second Texas lawmaker to acknowledge this week that they'd been infected with the virus. Republican U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler tested positive when he was preparing to fly with Trump to Midland on Air Force One on Wednesday.
But Gohmert's self-prognosis on the source of the infection was even sweeter music to the ears of anti-lockdown dissidents who've been accusing the Republican governor of steamrolling their freedom and liberty with actions that he's taken for the sake of protecting the public health during the contagion. Gohmert apparently thinks that he caught the disease from a mask that he refused to wear at times and complained about when he did.
Tinderholt will be hoping that he receives a significant number of sympathy votes that he might desperately need this fall in a bid for re-election in a district where he's facing Democrat Alisa Simmons in November.
Tinderholt's home base of House District 94 had been safely Republican until Trump's proved to be disastrous for the GOP's down-ballot nominees in the past two election cycles. Trump's drain on Republicans here has been clearly evident in HD 94 where he beat Hillary Clinton by 13 percentage points in 2016 before U.S. Senator Ted Cruz defeated Democrat Beto O'Rourke there by only 3 points two years ago.