The unvaccinated mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, who defended anti-mask protesters donning the Star of David just a month ago, delivered remarks at a conference featuring fringe doctors who have spread misinformation about the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.
“I’m just here to tell you after a long dinner and meeting with these folks, this is the best science available,” Dave Bronson proclaimed during a nine-minute speech on Saturday at Anchorage’s ChangePoint Church.
According to a video of the event, posted by organizers from the Alaska Covid Alliance, Richard Urso, a Houston ophthalmologist who helped launch America’s Frontline Doctors and has defended using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, told the crowd that Bronson had “helped organize a lot of what’s happening behind the scenes.”
Roughly 1,200 attendees flocked to the Alaska Early Treatment Medical Summit on Saturday, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Organizers told the outlet that attendees paid $20 for tickets to hear from doctors who have been shunned from mainstream medical circles for pushing unproven drugs touted as miracle treatments to fight COVID-19 infection.
“I don’t want to say this because maybe he doesn’t want me to say this, but he’s probably the reason we were able to make this happen,” Urso said of Bronson. “I’d say he’s helped organize a lot of what’s happening behind the scenes. And I want us to, if you can, give a warm welcome to your very own mayor, Mayor Bronson.”
America’s Frontline Doctors is the subject of a House select subcommittee inquiry for its alleged role as one of the top purveyors of “questionable treatments nationwide” for COVID-19.
Urso, who has also cast doubt on vaccines, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Tuesday but he is scheduled to appear in a similar lineup at a Florida summit in the coming days, and was recently quoted by a conservative news blog saying that he was among a group of medical professionals who are “bigger and smarter than the FDA, CDC, and WHO.”
From the stage of one of the city’s biggest churches, Bronson asserted that his own doctor had encouraged his administration to host an event for the team of doctors who have become outcasts to their medical peers for pushing misinformation during the pandemic. Bronson claimed that he had declined to publicize his own involvement due to politics.
“For some, you know, political reasons, we didn’t want my fingerprints all over it,” he said. “The data will get us to the truth. And that’s what we’re trying to do is give you the people who understand the data.”
Presenters included infectious disease researcher Dr. Robert Malone, who cautioned summit attendees against vaccinating kids who are increasingly being treated for more severe COVID infections. Malone has claimed in interviews that vaccines worsen the effects of COVID-19.
Dr. Ryan Cole, who previously referred to COVID-19 vaccines as “needle rape” and who is being investigated for promoting ideas around COVID-19 that are “profoundly wrong” and “unsupported by medical research,” also made an appearance at the event.
In an email to The Daily Beast, the mayor’s spokesman Corey Allen Young suggested Bronson had not played a hand in any planning of the event, insisting instead that the administration had been “approached” with the “opportunity” and that Bronson had agreed to make an appearance but had shied away from an organizing role due to his political office. City employees were not compensated, and “no municipal funds” were used for the event, he said.
“Because some people disagree with the topics being discussed, they believe that Mayor Bronson should not be allowed to participate, and that should not be the case,” Young wrote. “If Mayor Dave Bronson is the mayor of all people, he should be allowed to attend all types of public forums.”
“He has also since his first day in office increased COVID-19 vaccinations, tests, and monoclonal antibody treatments city-wide,” Young insisted when asked about whether the mayor’s presence at the summit contributed to an ongoing COVID surge in Alaska.
Alaska continues to rank among the top states reeling from the Delta variant. On Saturday, the state reported 625 cases, according to the state’s Department of Health and Social Services.
Bronson, who is not vaccinated, has called COVID-19 vaccines “experimental,” while opposing vaccine and mask requirements to curb the spread of the virus.
The mayor appeared to offer a strong endorsement for the presenters, insisting that history would remember them in a rosy light when compared against other health care workers.
“I think history is going to judge these doctors, these professionals very, very well,” he said. “And it’s going to judge other folks, to include health care professionals, quite poorly. I just decided I was going to be on the right side of history on this.”
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Tuesday.