Colorado candidate campaigns with doctor who shared coronavirus conspiracy theories
Republican congressional candidate Steve House held a virtual campaign event Tuesday with a doctor who has spread conspiracy theories about coronavirus.
House is the Republican nominee to face Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat, in Denver’s eastern suburbs. Late Tuesday afternoon, House’s campaign organized a Facebook event with Dr. Colleen “Kelly” Victory, of Steamboat Springs. A few dozen people tuned in to the conversation about coronavirus.
“I do not believe that the general public should be wearing masks,” Victory said during the event, contradicting state and federal public health officials.
On her Twitter account, Victory has said the mortality rate from COVID-19 is “on par with the flu,” although health experts say it is several times deadlier. She shared a tweet saying “all the (coronavirus) numbers are fake” and claimed Saturday that no Coloradans have been intubated due to coronavirus, which is false.
Victory helped spread conspiracy theories that coronavirus-related closures are a Democratic plot, coordinated in conjunction with the “deep state” and the press, to defeat President Donald Trump in November. She also alleged an over-reaction to the pandemic is a Democratic plot to steal the 2020 election via mail voting and shared a tweet accusing Democrats of stealing elections that way in 2018.
Victory is a critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s leading expert on infectious disease. She shared a tweet calling for him to be criminally prosecuted and another calling him an idiot. Fauci has drawn the ire of some on the far right for supporting closures.
On social media, Victory has aligned herself for weeks with ultra-conservatives, such as Ann Coulter, who have spread dubious information about coronavirus. Victory knows Coulter and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor disorderly conduct related to an altercation after an event with Coulter in Colorado in 2012.
“Churches should absolutely be open! And so should everything else,” Victory wrote March 21. “Isolate and protect the small percentage of people who are truly at risk and let the masses be exposed and therefore DEVELOP IMMUNITY!”
In an online bio, Victory says she is “a member of” Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, or NPLI, and “served for many years” on a leadership council at Harvard’s public health school. A Harvard spokeswoman says Victory went through a 10-day NPLI program about a dozen years ago and only briefly was a member of the leadership council several years ago.
A spokesman for the House campaign, Roger Hudson, said House likes Victory and considers her to be knowledgeable about health care. Hudson said House has spoken with many physicians as he crafts health policy proposals and the House campaign was not aware of, or responsible for, content on her Twitter feed.
House and Victory share an interest and confidence in hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria medicine Trump has hailed as a treatment for coronavirus. Public health experts, including Fauci, have cautioned that while there is anecdotal evidence of the drug’s success against COVID-19, scientific studies are ongoing.
“It’s very, very safe. Given the risk for COVID in certain populations…why would we not try this very simple, very inexpensive (drug)?” Victory said during the House event Tuesday, after acknowledging a conclusive study has not been conducted.