REPORT: The Conservative Groups Behind the “Defeat the Mandates” Anti-Vax DC Rally This Weekend
Washington, D.C. — Ahead of Sunday’s anti-vaccine “Defeat the Mandates DC” rally, government watchdog Accountable.US released a new analysis revealing that the organizations behind the event have extensive ties to prominent Republican politicians and conservative groups.
This weekend’s rally is further proof that the anti-vax, anti-mask, conspiracy peddling fringe is actually no fringe at all – it is part and parcel with the modern Republican Party and conservative movement. The public deserves to know who is behind these extremists marching in Washington this weekend to spread dangerous conspiracies that undermine public health and our ability to end the pandemic once and for all.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
CONSERVATIVE GROUPS BEHIND THE RALLY:
- “Defeat the Mandates DC” partner Front Live COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) has been the primary nonprofit vehicle for Dr. Pierre Kory, who has pushed discredited “miracle cures” for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine in 2020 and, more recently, ivermectin. The FDA has approved neither treatment, and FLCCC was criticized as contributing to anti-vaccine sentiment. Despite these issues, Kory was invited by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) to share his views with congress, despite criticism from local physicians. The FLCCC claimed to have direct connections to Jared Kushner’s COVID-19 response team at the White House in 2020.
- “Defeat the Mandates DC” partner Children’s Health Defense is the primary nonprofit vehicle for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to express his broad anti-vaccine views. The organization saw a doubling of revenue in 2020 to $6.8 million, allowing CHD to expand internationally, and invest in new distribution methods, such as a movie studio. Before COVID, RFK Jr. had been a proponent of the long-discredited theory of a link between infant vaccinations and autism, which led RFK Jr. to be banned from platforms such as Instagram. Despite this ban, RFK Jr. has continued to promote his views across conservative media, including the Tucker Carlson Tonight program, Alex Jones’s InfoWars, and Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast (where RFK Jr. has appeared twice).
- Global COVID Summit, another partner group of the event, describes itself as an “international alliance” of doctors and scientists. Global COVID Summit is linked to a “Doctors and Scientists Declaration” that presents a series of vaccine skeptic views, including opposition to ‘forced vaccination’ for children, saying the ‘naturally immune’ should not be subject to COVID restrictions, and “all health agencies and institutions shall cease interfering with physicians treating individual patients.”
- On the initial web page for the “Defeat the Mandates DC” event, The Unity Project was also listed as a partner (it has since been removed). Unity Project describes itself as uniting “vast numbers of independent groups statewide into a powerful force of concerned citizens.” Unity Project’s partnership has since been removed, yet a review of The Unity Project, which lists the above Global COVID Summit as a “strategic partner” on their own website, shows direct partisan connections. This includes listing a local Republican group, Greater Laguna Beach GOP, as a strategic partner on their website. Unity Project includes representatives of the broader conservative movement on their “leadership” page, including a co-founder of “anti-CRT” group Moms for Liberty, and a member of the Orange County Board of Education who was a former endorsements director for the Trump campaign.
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