Ex-GOP Official Dies From COVID After Suggesting Pandemic Was Fake
Former Nashville, Tennessee, council member Tony Tenpenny died from COVID-19 over the weekend after spending several weeks in the hospital, NBC News reported.
- Prior to becoming sick with the virus, Tenpenny repeatedly posted misinformation about the pandemic on social media, including conspiracy theories and posts expressing extreme skepticism about the virus.
- In May, Tenpenny posted a statement falsely attributed to former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) “putting forward conspiracy theories that the virus is nothing more than a political trick to derail Trump's re-election bid,” per NBC.
Then, on June 29, Tenpenny posted a meme that equated wearing a mask to being "manipulated to live in irrational fear" and willing "to be controlled by a socialist agenda."
- In July, the Republican wrote that "the CDC and the WHO are pure lying (expletive)" and public health officials are "not telling you the truth."
- The coronavirus has sickened over 6.8 million people in the U.S. and killed at least 200,000, NBC noted.
- Council member Ginny Welsch, who beat Tenpenny when he ran again last year, said: "The message to me is that Covid is no joke, it knows no boundary, and no matter what you might believe, it doesn't care.”
- Welsch continued: "Anyone can be felled by it. Not taking the precautions we know work to slow the spread is like playing Russian roulette. You are risking your life and the lives of those around you."