South Carolina local GOP leader dies of COVID-19

Pressley Stutts, a Tea Party Republican who recently led an effort to force out several local GOP officials who opposed the state party chairman, died Thursday from coronavirus complications, The Associated Press reported. He was 64.

Stutts led a group loyal to former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcConnell 'confident' 10 GOP senators will back debt deal Trump considered withdrawing Kavanaugh nomination over beer comments, being 'too apologetic': Meadows book Judge halts Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide MORE that this summer forced the resignations of a number of Greenville County GOP leaders who unsuccessfully attempted to defeat state party chairman Drew McKissick, according to the AP. Stutts said he led the effort to follow Trump's instructions of ousting anyone in the Republican Party who did not agree with the former president and his vision. 

Stutts was first hospitalized with COVID-19 in late July and regularly provided health updates on his Facebook page

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Although Stutts used the platform to encourage his followers to take the virus seriously, he also voiced his opposition to mask mandates and said people should not be forced to get the vaccine.

"Mandates and coercions DO NOT WORK especially when they come to us from a government that has repeatedly lied to the American People time and time again," Stutts wrote on Facebook.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said this week that he sees statewide mask mandates as a violation of state law after South Carolina's capital city of Columbia announced that masks will be mandated in city elementary and middle schools, the AP reported.