Bill Montgomery, the co-founder of conservative student group Turning Point USA, reportedly has died from coronavirus-related complications, Politico reported on Wednesday — just a few days after the group’s leader said face masks cause you to “infect yourself.”
- Montgomery started TPUSA alongside Charlie Kirk, the group’s current leader, in 2012.
- Pro-Trump conservative strategist Caleb Hull posted on social media that the 80-year-old had died on Tuesday due to COVID-19.
“I really wish people would just stop politicizing this pandemic and grow up while innocent people around us are dying,” Hull also said. “You have no idea how painful it is to be forced to sit at home while your loved one dies alone in a hospital.”
- Kirk told Politico in a statement: “I can’t put into words how saddened I am by the death of my dear friend Bill Montgomery.”
- The news outlet noted that from the pandemic’s start, “Turning Point USA representatives have downplayed the impact of the coronavirus on public life.”
- Just on Sunday, Kirk said during his podcast: “Do not force me to wear a mask, it’s that simple. I’m not gonna do it, I’m not.”
“[E]very single time I go into one of these grocery stores, ‘Where’s your mask?’ I say, well first of all, the science around masks is very questionable, very questionable,” he said. “In fact some people, some doctors think that masks actually make you sicker and have you less likely to be able to get oxygen and more likely to infect yourself, and less likely to be able to fight the virus, and actually more likely to be able to die sooner.”
- Kirk said of mask mandates on Sunday: “[W]e have a huge civil liberty issue here. Why do you have the authority to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body? I thought it was ‘my body, my choice.’”
- However, in two of his podcasts from earlier this year, “Kirk stated that he believed that the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions should self-quarantine.”