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Kentucky lawmaker faces scrutiny for comparing Fauci to Jonestown cult leader

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, arrives to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, July 20, 2021
New York Times/Pool

Kentucky state Rep. Regina Huff (R) sparked a wave of backlash after comparing President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, to cult leader Jim Jones, infamous for causing hundreds of deaths in a mass suicide in the ’70s, The Louisville Courier Journal reported.

In a since-deleted tweet, Huff, who currently serves as Kentucky’s House Education Committee chairwoman, shared a photo of Fauci and Jones next to each other with text boxes over them. The box over Jones read, “I persuaded over 900 people to drink my Koolaid,” while the box over Fauci read, “Amateur.”

“Some will cavil, they will not be able to help themselves,” Huff tweeted.

After she deleted the post, Huff tweeted, “I did indeed delete the tweet because of the vulgarity within the comments,” adding that the original tweet was “representative of the efforts gearing up to mandating and controlling citizens.”

Huff continued that her tweet was not about vaccinations, but “mandates and efforts to control,” and added, “I don’t have any problem whatsoever with vaccinations. It is each individuals right to choose to vaccinate or not.” 

Those tweets were also subsequently deleted, the Courier-Journal reports.

“The Tweet was a reference to the detriment that can follow when fear is used to conform or control, particularly with mandates, individuals,” Huff said in a statement to The Hill, adding that she took it down because she did not want to give a platform to the “vulgarity” that was being used in the responses to her tweet.

“I think all that want the vaccine should absolutely get vaccinated,” Huff said. “I wholeheartedly feel that everyone should do what they feel is best for their well being. My purpose was to reinforce that we can’t be led by fear, and the government or individuals to control or manipulate our actions, without it being for the greater good.”

In a follow-up phone call, Huff said that she found the meme online and she “absolutely” did not mean to imply that Fauci was responsible for any deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Courier Journal noted that like much of the U.S., COVID-19 cases are steadily beginning to rise again with nine counties going into red zones Tuesday.

According to the Kentucky government’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, 51 percent of the state’s total population has been vaccinated as of Tuesday.

–Updated on July 21 at 11:25 a.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci COVID-19 vaccines Jim Jones Joe Biden Kentucky The Courier-Journal
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