Utah Sen. Mike Lee spent the weekend amplifying unfounded allegations by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars that the President Joe Biden administration was preparing to impose new COVID-related lockdowns this fall.
“Over my lifeless body,” Lee posted to X — formerly known as Twitter — late Friday right, sharing an Infowars story that claimed the Biden administration was “preparing to bring back FULL COVID restrictions” as soon as mid-September.
The “exclusive” story from InfoWars, a media company that has repeatedly been found to share misinformation, alleges Transportation Security Administration and Border Patrol “whistleblowers” are warning that the federal government is preparing to reinstate new lockdowns because of COVID-19. Those restrictions would reportedly begin with re-implementing masking requirements for air travelers.
The original article and accompanying video do not provide any evidence to back up those claims, which appear to be driven by news of a new COVID BA.2.86 variant. The new virus strain has been elevated to “variant under monitoring” status by the WHO, while three known cases have been identified worldwide, CBS News reported.
Jones has made dozens of inaccurate claims about the COVID pandemic, including falling claiming the government was planning on establishing “COVID death camps.” Last fall, Jones was ordered to pay the families of Sandy Hook victims nearly $1 billion for damages he caused by promoting the lie that the school shooting was a hoax.
The account Lee re-posted, “Died Suddenly,” belongs to a thoroughly debunked anti-vaccine film of the same name that regurgitates conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines causing unexplained deaths. The film was produced by far-right media figure Stew Peters who is also responsible for the QAnon-related film “Watch the Water,” which makes the claim that COVID vaccines contain a synthetic snake venom that threatens to turn people into a “hybrid of Satan.”
Lee’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Salt Lake Tribune.
Several users mocked Lee’s fearmongering this weekend.
“Infowars is your source for such garbage?,” posted state Rep Brian King, responding to Lee. “Please. Even you are better than this. Stop peddling misinformation.”
It wasn’t the only time Lee amplified the unsubstantiated claim that another round of COVID lockdowns was in the works over the weekend.
After the “Catturd 2″ account commented on the story, “Imagine falling for this again,” Lee responded, “Nope.”
When another user claimed, without providing any evidence, that “sources in DHS and Emergency Management were preparing for lockdowns and restrictions” because of the new variant, Lee said, “COVID ≠ constitutional authority.”