Far-right anti-vaxxer Republican laughed at COVID-19 only 5 days before dying from it

Far-right anti-vaxxer Republican laughed at COVID-19 only 5 days before dying from it

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — which, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has now killed more than 4.2 million people worldwide — far-right MAGA Republicans in the United States have downplayed the severity of the crisis and railed against everything from protective face masks to social distancing measures. In Texas, one such MAGA Republican was H. Scott Apley, who died of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, August 4, according to a GoFundMe page that was set up by his family.

Apley, who was 45, was a member of the city council in Dickinson, Texas near Galveston and a member of the Texas GOP's executive committee. Daily Beast reporter Justin Rohrlich notes that Apley "regularly espoused anti-vaccine and anti-mask views online" — and that he was mocking the dangers of COVID-19 only five days before his death.

Apley, according to Rohrlich, was admitted to a hospital in Galveston with pneumonia-like symptoms, and his wife was infected with COVID-19 as well.

The GoFundMe page reads, "He leaves behind his wife, Melissa, who is COVID-positive, as well as their infant son Reid. Your donations are greatly appreciated and will help the family as they get through this difficult period."

In a Facebook post, Dickinson Mayor Sean Skipworth said of Apley's death, "My heart is beyond broken for his family. Scott was a new father, and that makes this loss especially tragic."

Apley was known for being in-your-face with his anti-vaccine, anti-mask views. On May 3 on Facebook, Apley linked to an article about incentives for COVID-19 vaccines and wrote, "Disgusting."

On May 15, Apley posted, on Facebook, an invitation to a "mask burning" at a bar in Cincinnati, Ohio and wrote, "I wish I lived in the area!" Apley was a vehement critic of vaccine passports, which confirm that one has been vaccinated for COVID-19. Apley compared mask mandates to Naziism in Germany during the 1930s, and when former Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen celebrated the efficacy of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in an April 1 tweet, Apley responded, "You are an absolute enemy of a free people."

Apley is not the first anti-vaxxer on the right to become infected with COVID-19. After expressing anti-vaxxer views, Nashville-based radio host Phil Valentine was hospitalized with COVID-19 and has been fighting for his life; according to his brother Mark Valentine, Phil Valentine now regrets not getting vaccinated.

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