A Kentucky lawmaker has sparked controversy by tweeting a meme comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Jonestown massacre leader Jim Jones.
Rep. Regina Huff, a Republican who serves as Kentucky’s House Education Committee Chairwoman, posted an image on Twitter Tuesday of America’s top infectious disease expert alongside the man who led 909 cult followers to commit mass suicide in 1978.
Beneath the photo of Jones, the meme read: ‘I persuaded over 900 people to drink my Koolaid.’
‘Amateur,’ the caption read under Fauci’s photo.
Huff wrote alongside the meme: ‘Some will cavil, they will not be able to help themselves.’
The lawmaker later deleted the tweet and has claimed she was talking about ‘mandating and controlling citizens’ and not Fauci’s efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.
Her social media post came the same day Fauci appeared at a Senate hearing where he denied that funds sent to Wuhan were used for gain of function research and clashed with Senator Rand Paul.
Kentucky lawmaker Regina Huff (above) has sparked controversy by tweeting a meme comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Jonestown massacre leader Jim Jones
Huff, a Republican who serves as Kentucky’s House Education Committee Chairwoman, posted an image on Twitter Tuesday of America’s top infectious disease expert alongside the man who led 909 cult followers to commit mass suicide in 1978 (the tweet above)
Huff’s tweet was spotted by Louisville Courier Journal reporter education reporter Olivia Krauth before it was deleted, with Krauth taking a screenshot and sharing the post on Twitter.
The journalist wrote on Twitter that the Republican was drawing parallels between the COVID-19 vaccine and the Jonestown massacre, where the cult followers died by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.
‘Kentucky’s House Education chair tweeted, and then deleted, this meme that appears to compare vaccination efforts against COVID-19 to Jonestown,’ she tweeted alongside a screengrab of Huff’s tweet.
Huff responded to Krauth’s post in another tweet claiming she deleted her original post because of the ‘vulgarity’ of comments.
She claimed that the meme referred to mandates and children wearing masks in schools – before deleting that post too.
‘I did indeed delete the tweet because of the vulgarity within the comments,’ she wrote.
‘The context of the tweet is representative of the efforts gearing up to mandating and controlling citizens, once again.
‘Our students need to be in school, with parents deciding if they wear a mask.’
Krauth once again screengrabbed the deleted tweet and posted it online.
In another follow-up tweet – which has not been deleted – Huff insisted that Krauth’s interpretation that she was referring to the COVID-19 vaccine was incorrect.
Huff deleted the tweet but it was spotted and shared by Louisville Courier Journal reporter education reporter Olivia Krauth, with Krauth saying the Republican was drawing parallels between the COVID-19 vaccine and the Jonestown massacre
Huff responded to Krauth’s post in another tweet claiming she deleted her original post because of the ‘vulgarity’ of comments and claimed the meme referred to mandates and children wearing masks in schools – before deleting that post too
In another follow-up tweet – which has not been deleted – Huff insisted that Krauth’s interpretation that she was referring to the COVID-19 vaccine was incorrect
‘Your interpretation was inaccurate. The tweet is not a reference to vaccinations at all. It is the mandates and efforts to control that are the issue,’ she wrote.
‘I don’t have any problem whatsoever with vaccinations. It is each individuals right to choose to vaccinate or not.’
The lawmaker doubled down on these claims as she defended her original tweet telling the New York Post ‘we can’t be led by fear.’
She insisted she is not opposed to people getting the COVID-19 vaccine but is against people being controlled ‘by fear’ into mask mandates.
‘It had nothing to do with vaccinations. I regret the misunderstanding. I regret that it wasn’t interpreted as I intended,’ she told the Post.
‘It just symbolic of the fact that we can’t be led by fear on whether we need to wear masks,’ she said, pointing to the current discussions in Kentucky around children wearing masks in schools.
‘These kids deserve to get back in the classroom for their social and emotional well-being,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t about vaccines – it was about being told to mask up and being led by fear.’
Huff later admitted the comparison between Fauci (left) and Jones (right) was ‘probably too harsh’ but maintained that they were both ‘able to lead and mandate people’ to conform
An aerial view of the Jonestown massacre where Jones led 909 cult followers to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid
What is Gain of Function research?
Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission.
Scientists conducting GOF research modify naturally occurring viruses to make them more infectious so that they can replicate in human cells in a lab.
This allows the virus’s potential effects on humans to be studied and better understood. GOF has been considered controversial due to its inherent biosafety risks.
In 2014, the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on GOF which included halting funding for projects, however, this decision was overturned three years later by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
On May 25, 2021, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci defended funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a $600,000 grant given to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance, to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
He said the research was essential, pointing out that the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s was eventually traced back to bats.
However, Fauci claimed that under the terms of the funding, scientists were not to use the money on Gain of Function research.
She continued: ‘My intent was to say when we’re led by fear, that there can be detrimental outcomes.
‘I wanted people to think about that. We cannot be controlled by fear to the detriment of others.’
While she admitted the comparison between Fauci and Jones was ‘probably too harsh’, she maintained that they were both ‘able to lead and mandate people’ to conform.
The Kentucky Department of Education lifted its mask and social distancing mandates in schools last month leaving it up to Kentucky school districts to set their own rules on mask-wearing in schools.
CDC guidance recommends people who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear masks indoors and maintain three feet of distance within classrooms.
The agency also said administrators can decide whether to require vaccinated students and teachers to also wear masks indoors.
The state’s largest district Jefferson County Public Schools announced it will require unvaccinated students to wear masks inside schools.
While children aged 12 and over are currently eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine nationwide, only around 25 percent of children aged 12 to 17 have had at least one dose of the vaccine to date, reported Kentucky Today.
Overall, less than half of the population in Kentucky are fully vaccinated and the spread of the Delta variant is sending new COVID-19 cases rising once more.
Just 44.9 percent of people have been fully vaccinated in the state, according to Bloomberg data.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Monday urged residents to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the Delta variant.
‘This is all it would take to protect America if folks would do it, protect all of us, every single one of us from serious illness and disease, protect all of our communities, let us do everything that we enjoy doing,’ Beshear said.
The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate climbed past 6 percent Wednesday as another 963 infections were reported.
This came after the state recorded 1,054 cases Tuesday – the first time the daily number of new cases soared past 1,000 in months.
Nine counties in the state fell into the critical ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 Tuesday, including Laurel and Whitley which Huff represents.
Huff’s attack on Fauci came as the nations top immunologist was forced to defend himself from accusations of lying by another Republican lawmaker Tuesday.
Fauci and Rand Paul had a heated exchange during a Senate hearing Tuesday about whether or not the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which Fauci runs, funded controversial research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Huff’s social media post came the same day Fauci appeared at a Senate hearing where he clashed with Senator Rand Paul (above in the hearing)
Fauci pointed his fingers at Paul for being a ‘liar’ after the lawmaker accused him of lying when he denied that funds sent to Wuhan were used for gain of function research
The theory that COVID-19 was the result of a leak from the Wuhan lab has gained traction in recent months, after it emerged that three workers at the Wuhan lab fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, months before China first reported the virus.
In particular, questions are being asked around whether the leak came from gain of function research.
Gain of function research involves taking a virus that could infect humans and making it more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans.
Fauci said in May that the US gave the Wuhan lab around $600,000 over a period of five years in grants for research in bat coronaviruses.
However he insisted in a Senate hearing that the funding was not for gain of function research.
Paul accused Fauci of lying in that hearing telling him ‘it is a crime to lie to Congress.’
Fauci denied lying, saying: ‘I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed.’
The health official then accused Paul of lying instead: ‘You are implying that what we did resulted in the deaths of individuals/
‘I totally resent that, and if anyone is lying here, senator, it is you.’
US investigations into the origins of the virus are still underway.
Fauci v Paul: The debate over gain-of-function research and the $600K NIH grant to the Wuhan lab
Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been at loggerheads over gain-of-function research and a $600,000 grant the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014.
Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission. The research can ultimately make the virus more contagious or more deadly in a lab.
According to an NIH definition, GOF includes studying and altering viruses in animals to make them transmissible to humans – and potentially more contagious and deadly.
Paul accused Fauci on May 11 of misleading Congress by saying the U.S. has never funded gain-of-function projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Kentucky Republican points to a $3.7million grant NIH gave EcoHealth Alliance in 2014. EcoHealth Alliance in turn distributed nearly $600,000 of that funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Paul has maintained that emails from Fauci showed that he was worried NIH funded gain-of-function research in February 2020 when the pandemic first started to emerge.
In an interview in June, Paul told Fox News: ‘I think we’ve had a change of opinion. Everybody left-of-center was saying this was a conspiracy, no way it could have happened in the Wuhan lab. Now even Dr. Fauci is saying we should investigate it’
‘But the emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci form the very beginning worrying that he had been funding gain of function research. And he knows it to this day but hasn’t admitted it.’
Paul claimed in the interview that ‘there is a lot of evidence’ that Fauci’s views on the Wuhan lab-leak theory were compromised by a ‘conflict of interest.’
‘If it turns out this virus came from the Wuhan lab, which it looks like it did, that there’s a great deal of culpability in that he was a big supporter of the funding,’ Paul said.
‘But he was also a big supporter to this day of saying that we can trust the Chinese on this, that we can trust Chinese scientists and I think that’s quite naïve and really should preclude him form the position that he’s in.
In June, Fauci dismissed revelations that he was warned at the start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’.
Fauci seemed to play down a mass trove of damaging emails which include warnings from the start of the pandemic that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
He said his emails are ‘ripe to be taken out of context’ but he ‘can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab’