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Right-wing media allege Democrats are bringing back COVID-19 precautions in order to “rig” the 2024 election

Since former President Donald Trump made a video claiming that “they want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns,” right-wing media have been claiming that Democrats are manufacturing a rise in concern about COVID-19 in order to manipulate the 2024 presidential election. COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and wastewater samples tested with the virus are all on the rise in the U.S.

    • In a campaign video posted to X (formerly known as Twitter), Trump stated, “They want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal drop boxes, more mail-in ballots, and trillions of dollars in payoffs to their political allies heading into the 2024 election.” He also claimed, “They rigged the 2020 election and now they’re trying to do the same thing all over again.” The video was also covered by right-wing site Brietbart. [Twitter/X, 8/30/23]
    • Trump repeated these claims during a campaign speech in South Dakota, broadcast on Newsmax, stating, “The radical Democrats are trying hard to restart COVID hysteria” and “I wonder why? Is there an election coming up by any chance?” [Newsmax, 9/9/23]
    • On Fox and Friends, Pete Hegseth argued Kamala Harris was “ominously” claiming the Biden/Harris ticket would win the 2024 election because they are using “COVID 2.0, 3.0” as “tricks” to win. [Fox News, Fox and Friends, 9/11/23]
    • Ben Shapiro claimed the Biden administration is attempting to “make everybody feel very scared of COVID” in order to claim Biden is “too old and too scared of COVID to go out of the basement” instead of campaigning. [Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 9/6/23]
    • Michael Knowles claimed the “ruling elite” are “preparing to rig the election by doing COVID again.” [Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 9/6/23]
    • The next day, Knowles argued Democrats used COVID to “to rig a presidential election” and “that’s why they did it when they did it. That’s why they’re doing it again.” He went on to claim, “COVID’s been pretty much over for two years, they’re only bringing this back in the lead up to the 2024 election.” [Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 9/7/23]
    • Knowles also posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), “The libs are actually going to do COVID again for the election.” [Twitter/X, 9/4/23]
    • After speaking about the resurgence of COVID-19, Glenn Beck claims the White House is bringing it back because “I really do believe — they got something up their sleeve and it might just be cheating. I don’t know what it is.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program, 9/1/23]
    • Christian Nationalist and Turning Point USA partner Sean Feucht posted to X “Did you get the memo everyone?! The newly discovered Covid election variant is coming your way. 😷🤪😅#HoldTheLine” [Twitter/X, 9/3/23]
    • Former Newsmax host and pro-Trump pundit John Cardillo posted, “Democrats will absolutely try to lock us down again with some fabricated Covid strain before the election. You can absolutely thank Trump for that. He abdicated his presidency to Fauci and let them set this tyrannically dangerous precedent.” [Twitter/X, 9/7/23]
    • Popular Truth Social account Redneck Patriot reiterated Trump’s call to “not comply” with any COVID-19-related restrictions and claimed, “Covid is ramping up just in time for election season.” The post went on to claim, “There can't be a 2024 election without addressing the stolen 2020 election and the truth about covid. This will just be the 2020 election all over again with election interference on a massive scale. The truth must be released to the world before 2024 or our country is done.” [Truth Social, 9/5/23]
    • Another popular account, @wwg1wga, posted to Truth Social: “[THEY] are trying to bring back covid hysteria before the 2024 election. DO NOT COMPLY. DO NOT WEAR MASKS. DO NOT DISTANCE. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT GET ANY MYSTERY JABS!! #SaveAmerica #Truth #savethechildren” [Truth Social, 9/6/23]
    • Another Truth Social account claimed Russia and China “accused the US of ‘manufacturing biological crises’ for financial gain and to steal elections.” The post also claimed, “Biden to begin masking again. They are actually going to try to push covid again as election season starts.”  [Truth Social, 9/5/23]