South Carolina GOP Leader Who Pushed Conspiracy Theories About COVID Dies From the Virus

Pressley Stutts, a Republican leader from South Carolina, once called face masks "an illusion"

pressly stutts
Photo: Facebook

After a month-long battle, Pressley Stutts, a Republican leader in South Carolina, has died from COVID-19 at the age of 64.

Earlier this month, Stutts and his wife were rushed to the hospital due to decreasing oxygen levels. Though his wife recovered and returned home a few days later, Stutts developed pneumonia and entered the ICU, as he shared in several Facebook posts at the time. He was later placed on a ventilator.

Over the course of the pandemic — including his time in the hospital — Stutts made several social media posts about COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and once called face masks an "illusion." In July, he also shared dismissive comments about the delta variant in a Facebook post, which has been flagged by the platform as false information, before criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris' vaccination efforts in South Carolina.

However, on Aug. 1 after being admitted to the hospital, Stutts insisted online that he "always contended that COVID was very real."

"It is a deadly bio-weapon perpetrated upon the people of the world by enemies foreign, and perhaps domestic." he wrote in a lengthy post alongside photos of himself in the hospital.

He later described the virus as "hell on earth".

On Thursday, Dan Harvell, who represents the Anderson County Republican Party on the South Carolina Republican Party's executive committee, confirmed the news to Greenville News.

"I really don't have words to say about the imprint that he left on the political landscape in South Carolina," Harvell said. "He had the kind of personality that enabled him to get done what others couldn't do."

Following his death, Stutts' professional Facebook account shared a statement saying, "On behalf of Pressley's family, and at Patty's specific request, we would please request privacy for the family at the very difficult time. We will provide further updates as they develop."

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