People For the American Way

Right Wing Watch Weekly COVID Roundup 5/15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2020

Contact: Laurie Kinney at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202.467.2307

WASHINGTON, D.C.— People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch program is monitoring right-wing reaction to the coronavirus crisis on a daily basis. Below is our new weekly roundup of blog posts illustrating how the right’s responses continue to fall into five major categories:

Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat; Distracting Americans with Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing; Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is; Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism; and Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan. These categories are identified by researcher Peter Montgomery in his piece, Tactics From the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19.

Here is the latest RWW reporting on right-wing activities related to each of these categories.

Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat

Conservative Church Network Launches Plan to Defy California Social Distancing Orders

Distracting Americans With Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing

Fight Over Vote-By-Mail Is ‘Spiritual Battle’ For ‘Control of the Free World,’ Says True the Vote Leader
U.S. On ‘Cusp of War With China’ Over COVID-19 ‘Act of War,’ Claims POTUS Shield’s Frank Amedia
Tweet: DeAnna Lorraine thinks that being an asymptomatic carrier means “you don’t freaking have” the coronavirus.

Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is

Paula White’s One Voice Prayer Movement: A Thinly Disguised Political Operation for Trump
David Barton Says It’s ‘Not the Role of the Federal Government to Handle’ the COVID-19 Pandemic
Conservative Church Network Launches Plan to Defy California Social Distancing Orders
Fight Over Vote-By-Mail Is ‘Spiritual Battle’ For ‘Control of the Free World,’ Says True the Vote Leader
Tea Party 2.0: What the ‘Reopen’ Protests Have in Common With the Tea Party
Tweet: Presidential spiritual adviser Paula White is thrilled that Trump “is becoming more and more open with his faith and with his walk with God.”

Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism

Paula White’s One Voice Prayer Movement: A Thinly Disguised Political Operation for Trump
Tea Party 2.0: What the ‘Reopen’ Protests Have in Common With the Tea Party
Tweet: God told Maricela Woodall, who is the COO of Jim Bakker’s ministry, that when credit card processors cut off Bakker’s ability to receive donations, they were stealing God’s money.

Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan

Paula White’s One Voice Prayer Movement: A Thinly Disguised Political Operation for Trump
Conservative Church Network Launches Plan to Defy California Social Distancing Orders
U.S. On ‘Cusp of War With China’ Over COVID-19 ‘Act of War,’ Claims POTUS Shield’s Frank Amedia
Fight Over Vote-By-Mail Is ‘Spiritual Battle’ For ‘Control of the Free World,’ Says True the Vote Leader
Tweet: Presidential spiritual adviser Paula White is thrilled that Trump “is becoming more and more open with his faith and with his walk with God.”
Tweet: God told Maricela Woodall, who is the COO of Jim Bakker’s ministry, that when credit card processors cut off Bakker’s ability to receive donations, they were stealing God’s money.

Tactics From the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19:

  • Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat, including decrying the pandemic as a hoax or overhyped by media.
  • Distracting Americans with Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing, including blaming the virus on China, North Korea, Satan, Democrats, or others. Some extremists promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory say the virus and social distancing measures are cover for Trump to make mass arrests of a deep-state pedophile ring. A new wave of hoax conspiracy-mongering is spreading on social media using hashtags like #coronavirustruth and #FilmYourHospital.
  • Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is, which often amounts to reflecting and reinforcing Trump’s abrupt shifts in position — without explanation or acknowledgment.
  • Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism, which revolves around such preexisting agendas as promoting hostility to immigrants and immigration; fomenting nationalism, and disparaging international institutions. It also includes hawking bogus “cures.”
  • Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan, including telling supporters that the virus is a punishment for abortion or LGBTQ rights, and that attending church is a test of their faith in God’s power to heal.

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.