GOP Leader Who Fought Against Vaccine Dies After Weeks-Long Battle With Coronavirus

2021-08-20 04:08:48

Pressley Stutts, a local Republican leader in South Carolina who fought COVID-19 vaccination efforts, died on Thursday of the coronavirus after a weeks-long battle, including six days spent on a ventilator, The Greenville News reported.

Stutts, a 64-year-old veteran, frequently shared conspiracy theories about the virus, the vaccine and the 2020 election on Facebook, including in posts made from his ICU bed.

Pressley Stutts was most well-known as the leader of the Greenville Tea Party. 

Stutts served as an executive committeeman of the Greenville County Republican Party and the leader of the Greenville Tea Party. He protested Vice President Kamala Harris when she visited the area in June to promote vaccination and called the effort an “ungodly initiative.” 

Stutts also praised a state effort to strip funding from schools that imposed mask mandates or testing requirements, and was angry about $10 gift card incentives for vaccination, writing to his 5,000 followers: “Do not sell your body nor your soul no matter the asking price.” 

In July, Stutts shared a Facebook post dismissing the delta variant, which was likely the one that ended his life weeks later. 

On Aug. 1 ― the day he went into the ICU ― Stutts insisted he had “always contended that COVID was very real” and called it “a deadly bio-weapon perpetrated upon the people of the world by enemies foreign, and perhaps domestic.”

However, he also posted conspiracy theories about the virus online. Last year, he dismissed masks as an “illusion,” claimed in December that there had been no increase in deaths in 2020, and said, “the American public has been gaslighted by the medical industrial complex.”

A research letter published in April calculated 522,368 excess deaths in 2020, an increase of 22.9 percent over 2019. Earlier this year, the CDC estimated there were 545,600 to 660,200 excess deaths from January 26, 2020 through February 27, 2021.

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