Extreme Covid-denier politician who called virus 'socialist' hoax dies of it

A conspiracy theorist politician who branded coronavirus a hoax and claimed it was part of a ‘socialist agenda’ has been killed by Covid-19. Former Nashville councilor Tony Tenpenny, 57, died of the virus over the weekend, after spending months branding it an overblown fabrication.

Tenpenny, a Donald Trump supporter, shared a post on May 30 that the virus had been whipped up to try and stop Trump being re-elected on November 3. In June, he share a meme claiming mask wearers had been ‘manipulated to live in irrational fear’ and blasted them for being ‘controlled by a socialist agenda. ‘

Tenpenny continued his ranting posts through July, branding the World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control ‘pure lying asses’. He shared outlandish conspiracy theories, including one from a rogue doctor beloved of Donald Trump who linked coronavirus to demons.

He also claimed ongoing lockdowns across the United States were about ‘shutting down the US economy, blaming Trump, & setting up a One World Govt.’ Tenpenny continued sharing the posts on his now deactivated Facebook account until August.

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He fell ill with the virus later that month – days after sharing his final hoax posts – and was hospitalized with Covid later that month.

Tenpenny, a married father of one, was placed on a ventilator earlier this month, with his condition continuing to decline until his death in the early hours of Sunday.

Paying tribute to Tenpenny, Nashville Mayor John Copper said: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former councilman Tony Tenpenny.

‘I send my condolences to his wife, Robbie, their son Ira and the rest of the Tenpenny family.’

Ginny Welch, who beat Tenpenny to claim his old District 16 seat in 2019, said her precedessor’s death should serve as a warning to others who don’t take coronavirus seriously.

In a statement seen by NBC News, she said: ‘The message to me is that Covid is no joke, it knows no boundary, and no matter what you might believe, it doesn’t care.

‘Anyone can be felled by it. Not taking the precautions we know work to slow the spread is like playing Russian roulette.

‘You are risking your life and the lives of those around you.’

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