Republican Texas state Representative Tony Tinderholt — a right-wing politician who has vocally opposed Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide shutdown and mandatory mask orders — has nearly died from the COVID-19 coronavirus. He is the first-known case of the Texas state legislator contracting the potentially lethal respiratory virus.
Tinderholt, who had previously compared the shutdown and mask mandate to “government overreach” and “socialism,” said that his first symptoms of COVID-19 consisted of mild joint pain that turned severe, bad headaches and a loss of taste and smell. Then, his symptoms took a turn for the worse.
“I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last,” Tinderholt wrote to the Texas Tribune. He told the publication that he and his family had been wearing masks in public even though he himself had proposed calling together a special session of the Texas legislature to overturn Abbott’s executive order making mask-wearing mandatory for all Texans.
“I would like for people to try to mitigate risk by wearing masks,” he said. “But wear them because you think it’s right. I’m sure it works to some degree — it just didn’t for me.”
He remains in recovery with nausea, a cough, and breathing difficulties.
Tinderholt is known as one of the state’s most conservative legislators. He wrote of the state’s COVID-19-prevention measures:
“Therefore, if we allow government to continue to grow one more iota over this level of threat, then we are ushering in the very foundations of socialism. The question I would encourage you ask yourself is this: do you want to be the governor who helped socialism take root in Texas or one who stood for freedom in the midst of great pressure? I know we both stand for freedom and personal liberty over socialist ideals. However, they will take root if we do not permanently change this course now.”
He has also proposed legislation to criminalize abortion, has said that immigrants dying at the southern border are the only way to stop immigration into the U.S., complained about a judge who upheld the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage (though he himself has been married at least four times), and was once placed under an ethics investigation for “misplacing” $15,000 in campaign funds.
Tinderholt is just the latest anti-mask Republican to catch COVID-19. Jason Rapert, an anti-gay Republican Arkansas state senator who called face mask mandates “draconian” and shared articles calling COVID-19 a hoax, tested positive for COVID-19 last week after speaking at a church service and other recent events without a face mask.
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QAnon Congresswoman Talks with White Supremacist to Praise Her & Jan. 6 Coup Attempt
Georgia Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a woman who thinks a “Jewish space laser” stared this summer’s wildfires on the West Coast and that all school shootings are fake, recently sat for an interview with Katie Hopkins, a far-right, Islamophobic white supremacist who has compared migrants to “cockroaches” and “feral humans” (the former of which was used by Nazis and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide) and also supported the “Defend Europe” campaign which has proclaimed the continent as a white one.
In the interview, which reportedly took place on January 7, the day after Trump’s supporters held an attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the November 2020 national elections, had Hopkins telling Greene, “On behalf of so many of us who look to this place for hope and look to Trump for hope, you are that. And what you did was so brave and made a difference to so many people and so I personally wanted to say thank you for being that person.”
In response, Greene says, “Thank you, thank you Katie. Thank you so much. That’s so nice,” Greene says in response. “Yeah, it was a hard thing we did yesterday, but I wouldn’t do anything else. I wouldn’t do anything else. I would love to trade you for some of our right people here who have no appreciation for our country. And I’m grateful, truly grateful.”
While it’s unclear what exactly Greene is referring to when she said “it was a hard thing we did yesterday,” it could either mean voting against certifying President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 elections or it could mean the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol.
This video has been shared a lot but it needs to be noted she is being interviewed by Katie Hopkins, a notorious bigot and hatemonger who is loved by white supremacists. Trump praised and supported both women many times. This is the Republican Party. This is it. https://t.co/2YoyHGCjFX
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 30, 2021
Not sure why folks like @WajahatAli and many others have to keep saying this for everyone to understand. These are not the exceptions, they are the rule for the Republicans. When you take out Never Trumpers you are left with a party captive to white nationalists and bigots. https://t.co/kZAOKAhYBz
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 30, 2021
Greene is currently facing calls to resign because of her embrace of far-right conspiracy theories, including the repeatedly debunked theory that an unprecedented national conspiracy of widespread voter fraud somehow “stole” the election from former President Donald Trump.
She also believes that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were an inside job, has advocated for the murder of former President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and thinks that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once sliced off a child’s face and wore it before drinking the child’s blood.
Republicans recently placed Greene on the House Committee on Education and Labor. They have remained silent about Greene’s past social media behavior and her recent interview with a white supremacist.
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Says “Everyone” Is to Blame for Capitol Riots
While Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has previously said that he thinks former President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for the January 6 coup attempt in which his supporters ransacked the Capitol to overturn the election that he and Republicans baselessly claimed was stolen, McCarthy added in a Thursday interview, “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility [for the coup attempt.]”
McCarthy then said that anti-Trump Democrats, rude social media users, unprepared law enforcement authorities were all responsible too, even though Trump literally told his followers on the morning of January 6 to march to the Capitol and fight to stop legislators from approving the election victory of now-President Joe Biden.
“I think this is what we have to get to the bottom of, and when you start talking about who has responsibilities,” McCarthy said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more questions, a lot more answers we have to have in the coming future.”
It’s especially telling that his Senate counterpart, now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has directly blamed Trump for the riots.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said Wednesday. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
After months of making baseless claims that a national conspiracy of widespread voter fraud stole the election from him, a claim laughed out of courts 60 times over for lack of evidence by judges that Trump himself appointed, Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally on the morning of January 6 in which he said, that he won the election “by a landslide” and encouraged his followers to “stop the steal” by going to the Capitol. If people don’t “fight like hell,” Trump said, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
GOP Rep Andy Harris Tried to Bring a Concealed Gun Into the Capitol House Chamber
Republican Representative Andy Harris of Maryland was recently prevented from entering the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol after a metal detector indicated that he had a concealed gun on him while trying to enter, something that is forbidden by security rules.
A spokesperson for Harris said, “As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland handgun permit and the congressman always complies with the house metal detectors and wanding. The congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”
However, it’s remarkable that Harris tried it at all, as Democratic legislators say that they have felt increasingly unsafe around their Republican colleagues in the day following the Republican-led January 6 coup attempt in which insurrectionists stormed the Capitol in hopes of killing those who refused to give former President Donald Trump an undeserved second term.
About 139 House Republicans and 8 Senate Republicans voted on January 6 against certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory. While some have admitted off-the-record that they only voted that way in fear of being targeted for violence by Trump’s supporters, one Republican in particular, Congresswoman and QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has previously suggested that she herself would personally gun down the progressive female House members of color known as “the Squad.”
The House had metal detectors installed following the January 6 coup attempt, but Republicans began walking past them and ignoring guards stationed at them. In response, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any politicians who do such things will be fined $5,000 or more.
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