Dr. Kelli Ward, the far-right conspiracy theory-embracing chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, encouraged her Twitter followers to don scrubs and personal protective equipment while attending “reopen” rallies to bamboozle the media.
— Dr. Kelli Ward ?? (@kelliwardaz) April 25, 2020
As protesters have staged rallies in various state capitols, demanding that the governors open businesses back up amid the coronavirus pandemic, images of health care workers counter-protesting them have gone viral.
The state’s Democratic party ridiculed Ward in a statement.
“If anyone’s status as a health care professional should be questioned it’s Dr. Kelli Ward’s, considering her unwillingness to promote the advice of health experts,” said Matt Grodsky, spokesman for the party. “Irresponsible, shameful tweets like this do nothing to help people afflicted with the virus or the health care heroes who are working to save lives.”
Ward is a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Earlier last week, Ward also falsely accused the counter-protesting health care workers of being phonies. But even if they are real doctors and nurses, she said, “when they appeared at rallies they were actors playing parts.” She hashtagged that tweet with “Propaganda” and “FakeOutrage.”
Even before the COVID-19 epidemic, Ward was no stranger to half-baked conspiracy theories.
Previously a state senator who mounted multiple unsuccessful U.S. senatorial runs, she in 2014 entertained some constituents’ tinfoil-hat idea that the jet streams from airplanes are actually clouds of chemical agents deployed by the government to alter the weather and harm people’s health.
More recently, in her attempt to dethrone the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2018, there was no end to the bizarre vitriol she spewed.
These days, she’s been devoting her time and Twitter feed to bashing the media and insisting that the country be reopened.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on April 30. He’s been less aggressive than some GOP governors in his efforts to reopen the state, only definitively green-lighting elective surgeries on May 1. He said that he’s still looking at the data to determine whether he’ll extend the stay-at-home order, or start relaxing some of the restrictions.
The University of Washington’s IHME model — similar to the data the White House has been using — predicts that Arizona is only two days past its peak daily COVID-caused deaths.