New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu called for a state lawmaker who’s repeatedly pushed COVID-19 misinformation to be stripped from his leadership position after he blasted out an email to colleagues suggesting that the coronavirus vaccine contains a “living organism with tentacles” and darkens the eyes of newborns.
“I have repeatedly expressed directly to Speaker Packard about the need to remove Representative Weyler from this position of leadership,” the Republican governor said in a statement Monday. “Disseminating this misinformation clearly shows a detachment from reality and lack of judgment.”
Sununu’s statement referring to “absurd emails” from the chair of the finance committee—which recently voted to table $27 million in federal vaccine aid for the state—come after Weyler blasted colleagues’ inboxes with materials on Monday rife with COVID conspiracy theories, including a document entitled “The Vaccine Death Report” that claimed vaccine injections were “murdering millions of people.”
The email from the legislator contained a 52-page “report” with disinformation on COVID-19, including claims that “unknown, octopus-like creatures are being injected into millions of children worldwide.”
The report also made claims that 5G technology had somehow been inserted into the vaccine to control people’s thoughts and called the pope and others “at the top” of the Roman Catholic Church “satanists” and “luciferans” for backing public health measures. The report additionally made the wild suggestion that the babies of vaccinated parents in Mexico were “transhuman”—born with “pitch-black eyes” and undergoing accelerated aging.
“It’s all one huge puppet theatre, where the majority of the people—even most of those who are complicit —haven’t got the slightest clue what is going on, and how everyone is being played,” the report states.
When asked about the report and calls for his removal, Weyler responded to The Daily Beast in an email: “No comment.”
Rep. Karen Umberger (R), the committee’s vice chair told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that she hadn’t looked at the report. She declined to say whether or not Weyler should face repercussions, adding when asked about calls for his removal: “I think that’s the speaker’s decision—completely.”
On Monday, a ranking Democratic member of the House Finance Committee, Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, released a statement ripping the report and suggesting Weyler posed a threat to public health.
“The continued dissemination of disinformation from Rep. Weyler is a danger to public health in New Hampshire and to the credibility of the legislature as a whole,” she said.
In recent weeks, Wallner had also joined New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing in issuing a letter to Packard, urging him to remove Weyler from his leadership role on the committee and “replace him with a member who respects science and the employees of state departments.”
Rep. William Marsh, who became a Democrat last month after citing a prevailing view among GOP colleagues to oppose masks and vaccines, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he agrees with Sununu’s call to replace Weyler but has concerns over who could steer the committee toward science.
“It’s a problem because competence seems to be a disqualification at this point in time, it’s sad, it’s very sad,” Marsh said.
“I wish he had spoken up two weeks ago,” Marsh added separately of Sununu in an email. “I would hope to be proved wrong, but one of the reasons I changed my party affiliation is I no longer believe Republicans are willing to hold their members accountable.”
Rep. Linda Tanner, a Democrat, told The Daily Beast in an email that she believed Sununu “has done the smoke and mirrors show where he speaks as if he supports vaccines, speaks to the seriousness of the Covid pandemic but really does not want to buck the right winger and free staters and does little to address the issues.”
Sununu, has called himself as “pro-vaccine as they come,” has also said that he opposed mandating coronavirus vaccines, after President Biden announced plans to require vaccines for millions of federal workers and many private sector employees.
The calls for stripping Weyler of his leadership role come weeks after the lawmaker sought to undermine the state’s Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette at a committee hearing where she requested federal funds be used to strengthen New Hampshire’s COVID-19 vaccine program. During a committee hearing with Shibinette on Sept. 17, Weyler questioned data from the department on hospitalizations and suggested that the majority of people seeking hospital treatment for the virus were vaccinated.
When Shibinette accused Weyler of spreading misinformation, he doubled down, suggesting that he had been hearing from emergency personnel who could corroborate his claims. A day later, in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, Weyler said federal authorities could not be trusted on health matters.
“Many people have sent me links to these things I’ve discussed,” he told NHPR in an interview published on Sept. 22 “I’ve seen links from reports from all sorts of credible sources. But [Shibinette] is just listening to the CDC as far as I can see. And I don’t consider the CDC a credible source, or Dr. Fauci a credible source.”
The New Hampshire House’s communications director, Jennifer Tramp, told The Daily Beast at the time that state House Speaker Sherman Packard, a Republican, had addressed Weyler’s comments with him directly—but that hasn’t stopped him from spewing false information.
Neither Tramp nor Packard immediately responded to a request for comment in light of the fresh wave of calls for Weyler’s removal on Tuesday, but Packard told NHPR in a statement: “It is not uncommon, whether one agrees or disagrees with the content, for a committee chair to share constituent information with committee members.”