Ernst Fails to Apologize, Refuses to Explain Why She Pushed Dangerous and Debunked COVID-19 Conspiracy

Associated Press: Ernst’s baseless claim that health care workers are inflating COVID-19 death rates “echoes a conspiracy theory that’s been widely debunked by experts”

Senator Joni Ernst today refused to clarify her widely-condemned comments peddling a harmful and debunked conspiracy theory about medical professionals inflating the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths for money. Instead, Ernst told the Des Moines Register, “Over 180,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19… What matters is that we are getting the resources to Iowa that are needed to fight this virus, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Greenfield for Iowa campaign spokesperson Izzi Levy issued the following statement in response:

“While Iowa sees the greatest surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, Senator Ernst is pushing an irresponsible and blatantly false conspiracy theory about our health care workers. Iowa’s doctors, nurses and frontline health care workers have spent the last six months putting themselves in harm’s way to care for us and keep us safe. Senator Ernst’s dangerous comments, and her failed response today, are disqualifying. She needs to apologize, immediately explain why she baselessly accused our health care heroes of lying for profit, and join Theresa in calling for a statewide mask mandate to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

Read more about Senator Ernst’s endorsement of this dangerous conspiracy theory:

  • Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: “‘These health-care providers and others are reimbursed at a higher rate if COVID is tied to it, so what do you think they’re doing?’ she told the crowd. Asked to clarify her remarks after the event, Ernst said that’s ‘what I’ve heard…’”
  • Des Moines Register: Sen. Joni Ernst says she’s ‘so skeptical’ of COVID-19 case counts, suggesting the numbers are being inflated
  • Radio Iowa: Ernst expressing doubts about Covid death tally
  • Washington Post: ‘So skeptical’: Sen. Joni Ernst echoes conspiracy theory questioning coronavirus death count
  • New York Times: As virus cases spike in Iowa, Joni Ernst spreads a debunked theory of inflated death figures.
  • The Hill: Ernst says she’s ‘skeptical’ about coronavirus death count
  • Daily Beast: GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Pushes Conspiracy Theory About COVID Death Count
  • MSNBC: Iowa’s Ernst questions COVID death toll, echoes conspiracy theory