An anti-LGBTQ Republican who mocked COVID-19 vaccines and spread misinformation about the pandemic has died after contracting the virus.
H. Scott Apley, a first-term council member in Dickinson, Tex., and member of Texas’ State Republican Executive Committee, died Wednesday morning after being hospitalized with COVID-19, Click2Houston reports.
The 45-year-old was admitted to hospital on Sunday, Aug. 1, and placed on a ventilator after experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms.
Days before his death, Apley mocked COVID-19 and the vaccination program in a post on his Facebook.
“In six months, we’ve gone from ‘The vax ending the pandemic’ to ‘You can still get COVID even if vaxxed’ to ‘You can still pass COVID onto others even if vaxxed’ to ‘You can still die of COVID even if vaxxed’ to ‘The unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed,’” a meme Apley shared read.
In May, he shared an invitation to a “mask burning” event at a Cincinnati bar, writing, “I wish I lived in the area!”
He called incentives and giveaways to encourage people to get vaccinated “disgusting,” opposed the idea of vaccine passports for businesses, and compared mask mandates in Germany to Nazism.
In April, Leanna Wen, commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, tweeted data about the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against the Beta variant of COVID-19.
“You are an absolute enemy of a free people,” Apley replied.
In addition to decrying measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Apley also frequently posted anti-LGBTQ content on his social media.
He criticized Demi Lovato for coming out as nonbinary, saying, “I will NEVER play this ridiculous game under any circumstance.”
In May, Apley replied to a nonbinary Twitter user by telling them they could “eat a non-binary sexual reproductive phallic.”
That same month, Apley slammed transgender athletes and healthcare for transgender youth, writing, “Never in my life would I have thought that preventing biological males from competing against biological females or not chemically/surgically castrating minor children would be a difficult thing to agree on.”
Apley is survived by his wife, Melissa, who also tested positive for COVID-19, and his infant son. A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for Apley’s medical bills prior to his death, and has since raised more than $35,000.
The Texas Republican Party urged its supporters pray for the family, with Chairman Matt Rinaldi saying in a statement, “We will miss Scott deeply but find comfort knowing he is at peace in the arms of our Savior.”
“My heart is beyond broken for his family,” Dickinson Mayor Sean Skipworth wrote on Facebook after Apley’s death was announced. “Scott was a new father and that makes this loss especially tragic.”
Skipworth told The Daily News that he didn’t know whether or not Apley was vaccinated.
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