'Irresponsible and dangerous': Far-right GOP congressman-elect slammed for calling COVID 'a phony pandemic'

'Irresponsible and dangerous': Far-right GOP congressman-elect slammed for calling COVID 'a phony pandemic'
Congressman-elect Bob Good, photo via Screengrab.

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.

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."

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."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.