MEMO: Jason Lewis Continues to Degrade Health Experts Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
“They think this is all one big sabbatical to do a four-year study.”—Jason Lewis belittling medical professionals and scientists working on treatments and a vaccine in March.
“I simply don’t trust the experts on much of this,” and “Doctors, nurses, first responders, and everyone on the front lines of this pandemic deserve our support. But too often the so-called ‘public health experts’ have failed us. Some of these global organizations aren’t putting America First and need to be scrutinized.”—Jason Lewis in early April.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis has been downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19 for months—pursuing his own rigid ideology while degrading public health experts.
In mid-April—on a day when Minnesota saw its then-high of coronavirus deaths and new cases—Jason Lewis ignored public health experts and took part in protests at the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul. Lewis was seen shaking hands and taking selfies in violation of social distancing guidelines.
And then on April 30, when Minnesota saw its single biggest jump in cases to date, Lewis told KIMT “We’re coming into a summer season. The virus is leveling off, if not dropping. This is the time to reopen Minnesota. Enough is enough.”
Jason Lewis’ Ongoing Spread of Misinformation and Disregard for Public Health Officials
Lewis’ words and actions come as little surprise. For months now, Lewis has downplayed the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic to Minnesotans—calling the coronavirus a “wintertime sickness” and repeatedly comparing it to the common cold and flu. Lewis has spread dangerous misinformation to Minnesotans, including a fake study that claimed chloroquine had a 100% success rate in treating COVID-19 and the conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 death toll is being artificially inflated by public health officials. And Lewis has blatantly disregarded the expertise of public health officials—ignoring social distancing guidelines designed to protect the lives of Minnesota first responders, health care workers, seniors, and others.
And more recently, he can be seen joking in a video filmed outside a coffee shop, “we’re gonna really risk it and actually walk in to get a cup of coffee and see if we survive.” The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 67,000 Americans.
Lewis also falsely—and bizarrely—claimed in Albert Lea late last week that the stay-at-home order in Minnesota is “delaying the onset of COVID-19.”
Jason Lewis COVID-19 Comment Timeline
Jan. 27: On Justice & Drew, while discussing COVID-19, Lewis suggested the media was “hyping it up for clicks” [29:57].
Feb. 28: On the “War Room 2020” podcast, Lewis called COVID-19 a “big buying opportunity for Wall Street” and a “wintertime sickness.” In this same interview, he also compared it to the flu and common cold.
March 20: On a Facebook Live event hosted by his campaign, Lewis touted a fake study that claimed chloroquine had a 100% success rate in treating COVID-19. The author self-published the “study” in a Google doc and falsely claimed it was backed by Stanford University, the University of Alabama, and the National Academy of Sciences. The study was removed by Google for violating the terms of service, as reported by POLITICO.
March 23: On Justice & Drew, Lewis belittled the medical professionals and scientists working on treatments and a vaccine, saying, “They think this is all one big sabbatical to do a four-year study.” [03:02]
April 6: On Justice & Drew, while talking about COVID-19, Lewis said, “I simply don’t trust the experts on much of this.”
April 17: On Sound OFF! With Brad Bennett, Lewis continued downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19, claiming that so far “it’s proven to be a nuisance” for young people [10:00].
April 17: Lewis shook hands and took selfies with “Liberate Minnesota” protesters – ignoring social distancing guidelines designed to protect the lives of our first responders, health care workers, seniors, and many others. Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, called similar protests that defy social-distancing guidelines “devastatingly worrisome.”
April 20: On Justice & Drew [01:59], Lewis again compared COVID-19 to the common cold and seasonal flu.
April 20: On Justice & Drew [05:50], Lewis said COVID-19 should have “presumption of innocence.” Here’s the full quote: “The reason that we have in our English common law heritage a presumption of innocence is not for someone that everyone knows is guilty; it’s for someone who might be innocent. So when you say, ‘Well, we know this virus will kill millions if we don’t do this,’ that may or may not be true in any particular circumstance, but what happens when it isn’t true and someone who would abuse power uses that as a pretense? That’s why we have these predictions, and to John’s point, we now know — from these mortality rates from what may or may not be something worse than the season flu, what happens if we shut everything down based on bad data?”
April 27: On Justice & Drew, Lewis pushed the conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 death toll is being artificially inflated by public health officials “assuming infections.” Dr. Fauci has called this a conspiracy theory.
April 30: On RV Tour, Lewis falsely claimed the stay-at-home order in Minnesota is “delaying the onset of COVID-19.”