Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has again courted controversy by posting a video of herself on social media working out and declaring: “This is my Covid protection.”
The Georgia representative, an avid devotee of CrossFit, is seen in the clip lifting weights and performing energetic pull-ups on a high bar, hashtagging the post “#MakeAmericaHealthyAgain” and “#FireFauci”.
The first is, of course, a spin on Donald Trump’s well-known campaign slogan, the second reveals the video’s true intent: to draw attention to her proposed new bill the “#FireFauci Act”, which would slash the salary of Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases expert, and ban vaccine passports to “prevent discrimination against the unvaccinated”, as she explains in a follow-up post.
Ms Taylor Greene refers to the popular director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as “Dr Always Wrong” in the bill, joining the former president in criticising the physician who has received death threats throughout the pandemic for being the bearer of bad news and bravely standing up to political pressure from within the Trump administration to lobby for face masks and social restrictions as the only way to bring down coronavirus infection rates.
The US has nevertheless suffered over 30m cases of Covid-19 and more than 553,000 deaths, most of which occurred under the erratic and chaotic leadership of Mr Trump, who advocated injecting bleach as a treatment and caught the disease himself before seeing it tear through the White House.
Earlier this week, Ms Taylor Greene said vaccine passsports were “Biden’s Mark of the Beast” and accused any company considering taking part in such a scheme of engaging in “corporate communism”.
Only sworn in to the House of Representatives on 3 January, she has quickly become a lightning rod for outrage, thanks to her past advocacy of Pizzagate, QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theories and for attention-seeking stunts like trying to impeach Mr Trump’s successor Joe Biden on his first day in office.
She is also known for wearing Covid masks bearing provocative slogans, notably one with “Censored” sewn across it, which she sported while addressing the nation from the House floor on 13 January.
While the congresswoman is not wrong in suggesting that good physical fitness is likely to aid the body’s recovery from the effects of coronavirus, there is no question of its being a meaningful preventative to contracting infections in the first place, as she appears to imply in her post.
Her fanaticism for CrossFit dates back at least as far as 2011 when she took it up after leaving her post as chief financial officer to her father’s construction business.
She became a part-time personal trainer in the discipline in 2012 before opening a gym of her own, CrossFit Passion, in Alpharetta, Georgia, in 2013, ultimately selling it.
As her latest tweet demonstrates, the practice remains integral to her personal brand but, in response to the US Capitol riot and her long history of inflammatory statements, the company behind it has moved to distance itself from her.
“CrossFit supports respectful fact-based political dialogue to address our common challenges, and we strongly oppose the loathsome and dangerous lies attributed to Ms Greene,” Andrew Weinstein, a CrossFit spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News last month.
Many Twitter users wasted little time in attacking Ms Taylor Greene, with several pointing out that many top athletes in peak physical condition had contracted the virus and one deriding her pull-up technique by likening it to “a wild salmon trying to escape a grizzly bear”.