- The chair of the Kentucky home education committee quickly deleted her post.
- The comparison came as cases increase both in Kentucky and nationally as the delta variant spreads.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The chair of the Kentucky home education committee has come under fire after appearing to compare efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations to the Jonestown massacre.
Representative Regina Huff, R-Williamsburg, tweeted photos of cult leader Jim Jones and senior White House medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Tuesday morning.
Jones’ photo includes a text box that reads, “I have persuaded over 900 people to drink my Koolaid” – a reference to the hundreds of people in the Jones sect who drank poisoned Kool-aid and died in a mass murder-suicide in 1978.
Beside it, the image of Fauci simply reads: “Amateur”.
“Some will quibble, they won’t be able to help themselves,” Huff tweeted alongside the image.
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Huff quickly deleted the post. A Courier Journal reporter obtained a screenshot of the message and tweeted it.
“I effectively deleted the tweet due to the vulgarity of the comments,” Huff said in a separate tweet which was also subsequently deleted.
The original tweet was “representative of efforts to empower and control citizens,” she said.
“Our students need to be in school, with parents deciding whether to wear a mask,” Huff continued.
Huff said in a third tweet that his original tweet from Jonestown was “not a reference to vaccinations at all,” but to “warrants and control efforts.”
“I have no problem with vaccinations. Everyone has the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate.”
His comments come as Kentucky school districts assess whether or not to require masks for schools, and whether mask rules should apply to all students, including those who have been vaccinated.
Kentucky has seen COVID-19 cases increase steadily in recent days, with nine counties falling into the critical “red zone” on Tuesday. Two of them are Laurel and Whitley counties, which Huff represents.
Cases have also increased nationwide. While a third of the country’s eligible population remains unvaccinated and the delta variant continues to spread, the seven-day average of daily new cases has increased over the past two weeks to over 37,000 Tuesday, compared to less than 13,700 on July 6.
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“We are trying to get our kids back to school SAFE in August and in a way that they can STAY there,” Jefferson County teacher and activist Tiffany Dunn said in response to Huff’s tweets. “She should either encourage vaccinations or at the very least keep her mouth shut.”
Huff’s tweets sparked several calls for his resignation as president or office, as well as jokes about Kentucky’s poor performance in national education rankings.
“If the Education Chair wanted to appeal to its base, okay, but Twitter is global – businesses, families and anyone considering Kentucky is seeing this stuff,” James Thomas, professor of education at the University of Kentucky, tweeted.
“We have to stop electing those who damage Kentucky’s ‘optics’. I don’t care about the party, I care about KY.”