'Irresponsible and dangerous': Far-right GOP congressman-elect slammed for calling COVID 'a phony pandemic'
Although the coronavirus pandemic has killed over 300,000 people in the United States, the far right is full of COVID-19 deniers who continue to downplay the pandemic's severity. One of them is congressman-elect Bob Good, who described COVID-19 as a "phony pandemic" during a December 12 speech at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.
Good praised a crowd of supporters, many of whom weren't wearing masks, for realizing "that this is a phony pandemic." The far-right Republican told the crowd, "It's a serious virus, but it's a virus. It's not a pandemic. It's great to see your faces. You get it. You stand up against tyranny."
But COVID-19 is not only a pandemic — it is the world's most severe health crisis since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/1919. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, COVID-19 has killed over 1.6 million people worldwide. And many medical experts are warning that the pandemic is entering its deadliest period yet.
Rep.-elect Bob Good calls the pandemic ‘phony.’ Covid-19 has killed more than 300 in his district. https://t.co/cAIY7TSN2i— Post Local (@Post Local) 1607972838.0
Holy shit. Congressman-elect Bob Good of Virginia starts speaking and immediately proclaims, "this looks like a gro… https://t.co/SMP8zipQ9p— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1607805230.0
Earlier this year in a GOP congressional primary in Virginia's 5th Congressional District, Good defeated Rep. Denver Riggleman — whom he attacked for not being socially conservative enough and for officiating a gay wedding. And after defeating Riggleman in that primary, Good went on to defeat Democrat Cameron Webb in the general election.
Riggleman, who will leave the U.S. House of Representatives when Good is sworn in on January 3, 2021, has slammed Good for his irresponsible comments about COVID-19. The outgoing congressman, in an interview with the Washington Post, noted that his 83-year-old grandmother was hospitalized with COVID-19-related pneumonia and that his father, stepmother and daughter's boyfriend have also been infected with COVID-19.
Riggleman told the Washington Post, "when you put out disinformation like this, it goes from pandering to possibly endangering others. There's a pandemic. I think sometimes, there's an overreaction by governors. Sometimes, there's an under-reaction by governors. But it doesn't change the fact that there's a pandemic."
Webb, a doctor who treats coronavirus patients at the University of Virginia Medical Center, called out Good as well, tweeting, "I've seen firsthand the devastation COVID-19 causes." And Webb denounced Good's comments as "irresponsible and dangerous."
I’ve seen firsthand the devastation COVID-19 causes. The fact is—even here in VA—the pandemic is surging right now.… https://t.co/2kItdCd1gM— Dr. Cameron Webb (@Dr. Cameron Webb) 1607814557.0
Post reporters Meagan Flynn and Laura Vozzella note that although hospitalizations from COVID-19 "are up 18% in Virginia since last week," Good has "continued to encourage masklessness and reject the need for any restrictions."