Antivax, anti-mask Maine legislator has COVID — and he doesn't sound too good
Another one bites the dust. From the Bangor Daily News:
Rep. Chris Johansen, a Republican legislator from Monticello who has been an outspoken opponent of coronavirus restrictions, has reportedly contracted COVID-19.
In a recording shared by Mainer News contributor Crash Barry, a man alleged to be Johansen said, "Listen up, I've got COVID and I'm really, really sick and I just don't have time to talk to you today."
Strange. He had plenty of time to talk last year:
Chris Johansen has been an outspoken opponent of state-mandated coronavirus restrictions and has organized multiple protests. In April 2020, he organized a protest in front of the Blaine House asking Democratic Gov. Janet Mills to reopen the state's economy, as well as downplaying the damage that the spread of COVID-19 would have on communities across the country.Johansen's wife has also reportedly been infected and as of July 21 was spending her third day in the hospital, according to the report. Neither she nor her husband have been vaccinated. Both had reportedly shared posts on Facebook mocking the vaccine and downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic.
The GOP lawmaker's wife, Cindy Johansen, confirmed her COVID-19 diagnosis separately in a Facebook post. In the post, she claims to have passed out in her garage and that her "legs were like rubber" at one point. She is considered to be at higher risk for hospitalization with COVID due to her asthma.
Johansen was a particularly vehement opponent of masking. Not only was he one of seven Republicans in the Maine House who refused to wear a mask, he even suggested he might try to sue to prevent Maine's Democratic House speaker from enforcing the mask rule.
As reported in May by the Bangor Daily News:
Johansen said he would not be wearing a mask and was exploring whether legal action could be taken against [House Speaker] Fecteau to prevent him from forcing the mask mandate...[.]
"This is not a private business, this is the state's Legislature," Johansen said.
In the interests of journalistic accuracy it should be noted that thus far the only confirmation that Johansen himself has COVID is limited to the report by Mr. Barry of the Mainer, who Tweeted the following snippet of a phone call that purportedly features Johansen's voice:
An #antivax anti-mask, Covid-denier #Maine State Rep and his wife both have contracted COVID-19. Chris Johansen (R-… https://t.co/V6fssj1pdq— Crash Barry (@Crash Barry) 1627048647.0
Johansen was apparently less forthcoming when contacted for confirmation of his diagnosis by the Portland Press Herald. According to their report, "he wasn't feeling well and didn't stay on the phone long enough to be asked whether he has the virus." Crooks and Liars also reached out to Johansen; according to their report, he replied "I'm uh... I'm not talking right now."
Damn those pesky reporters!