Jason Rapert, an anti-gay Republican Arkansas state senator who has called face mask mandates "draconian" and shared articles calling COVID-19 a hoax, has tested positive for COVID-19 after speaking at a church service and other recent events without a face mask.
For the last three months, Rapert has been sharing articles on his social media about how "liberal quacks" are "spreading fear" about coronavirus, about how COVID-19 is the "biggest political hoax in history" and about how the recent face mask mandate ordered by Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is "draconian" and an "overreach of executive power."
Though Rapert has occasionally mentioned the importance of using masks, he's now in the hospital being treated for coronavirus and pneumonia.
"We have all been doing our best to wear a mask, social distance and be careful like everyone else," Rapert wrote in a statement on Thursday. "This virus is serious and can attack anyone regardless of age or general health…"
Rapert also has a reputation for being a Christianist who introduced a bill seeking to ban gay marriage nationwide in 2017, two years after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. He also wanted to defund PBS in February 2020 because gay actor Billy Porter appeared on Sesame Street.
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Arkansas had its second and third highest-ever daily tolls of newly confirmed coronavirus cases, at 1,013 and 990 new cases, respectively.
Jason Rapert preaching about not being a "slave to fear" during a maskless service in arkansas weeks ago. Today he's in the hospital with COVID-19 and pneumonia https://t.co/IHGUyFgxe0
— David Hill (@davehill77) July 23, 2020