Fox News host Sean Hannity took to his radio show Wednesday to once again downplay concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, this time citing a Twitter crank to credulously claim that it might “be true” that the “deep state” is using the pandemic to hurt the economy and push “mandated medicines.”
Hannity, who also serves as an informal adviser to President Donald Trump and is sometimes referred to as the White House chief of staff, first pointed to a far-right blog to insist that the American public is approving of the president’s response to the coronavirus.
“Gateway Pundit points out that, as of yesterday, that the president’s approval rating is fine, and he’s getting pretty good grades on everything else,” Hannity boasted during his afternoon radio program, as first spotlighted by Media Matters.
A Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week, however, shows Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 41 percent amid fears of the coronavirus crisis worsening. A plurality of respondents also disapproves of the president’s response to the outbreak, compared to just 43 percent who approve.
“There’s an MIT guy I noticed on Twitter, and you know he’s saying pretty much the same thing he does research nearly every single day on immune systems he said quote ‘coronavirus fear-mongering by the deep state will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, and push mandated medicines,’” Hannity said, adding, “May be true.”
The person whom the pro-Trump host cited, Shiva Ayyadurai, is a right-wing provocateur who has promoted the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon. He also ran for the Senate in 2018 against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and repeatedly called her a “Fake Indian,” “fascist,” and “scumbag” during his disastrous campaign.
With COVID-19 having now resulted in dozens of American deaths, tanking stock markets and causing mass cancellations across the nation, Hannity has continued to minimize and downplay the dangers of the disease. The nation’s top expert on infectious disease, however, pointed out to Hannity’s viewers on Tuesday night that he’s “gotta make sure” they understand that coronavirus is at least 10 times as lethal as the seasonal flu, which Hannity and Trump have regularly compared this outbreak to.