“I thought this was parody. [I said to myself] there is no way the real Jim Banks tweeted this,” Adam Kinzinger says. But to the surprise of Kinzinger and pretty much anyone else who is aware both of Banks’ recent political activity and the seriousness of COVID-19, it was true: an elected Representative who has fought against COVID-19 precautions is now saying that the increasing death rate among adults aged 18-65 is something that needs to be ‘figured out.’
Here’s how the Indiana Democratic Party described Jim Banks’ (R-IN) COVID-19 politics last year when he tweeted, “Unvaccinated lives matter!”
…if the Congressman truly believed in that statement, he would be advocating for proven, science-based measures (like masks) that would protect Hoosiers who have not yet received their vaccine. Instead, Banks has consistently demonized masks and vaccines just as Indiana has reached its “darkest time” in the fight against the coronavirus.
Yet when Banks encountered the news that the death rate was hitting the insurance industry, he shared WFMZ‘s reporting, which includes warnings that this will drive premiums up and affect the bottom line of businesses by passing on costs to employers who provide insurance to their employees — he was apparently taken by surprise,
This is a catastrophe and we need to figure out why it’s happening. https://t.co/9DK0vzHZ0p
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) January 6, 2022
“This is a catastrophe and we need to figure out why it’s happening,” he tweeted.
Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) was only one of the many who responded in astonishment that the right-wing politician couldn’t make the connection.
Thought this was a parody. Me: “Adam, there is no way the real Jim Banks tweeted this given his position on covid etc.”. Oh, but he did. It’s real. https://t.co/VcsBRt0MDs
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) January 9, 2022
Others were quick to inform Banks that he had a role in this.
You should ask this @RepJimBanks guy about it. He seems to know about some medical decisions being pushed by Biden. I wonder if there’s a relationship to wanting people vaccinated and lowering the deaths in the US? pic.twitter.com/ngyszHa2sC
— rangecard (@rangecard) January 8, 2022
Lol. Jim ‘Trump Trash’ Banks wants to figure why people are dying from Covid??? It’s a deadly pandemic idiot. You’re anti mask anti vax rhetoric is why. Clown.
— Lester (@lesterhayes999) January 9, 2022
Can you possibly be so ignorant as to not know that you and you allegiance to TFG and the anti vax movement are the reason for this ? Nah, you’re just gaslighting as usual. What a piece of human s*it you are.
— I Want My Country Back ! (@mcford77) January 9, 2022
Plenty of others piled on to let Banks know that his question is actually answered in the news piece he linked.
“What the data is showing to us is that the deaths that are being reported as COVID deaths greatly understate the actual death losses among working-age people from the pandemic. It may not all be COVID on their death certificate, but deaths are up just huge, huge numbers.”
— An Old Woman, M.S. Applied Statistics (@linda72135856) January 7, 2022
If you’re thinking Banks listened to his constituents and learned anything, though, you need only look as far as his tweet the following day to be disillusioned:
Biden has no right to force Americans to make medical decisions against their will!
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) January 7, 2022
That’s right — after worrying publicly that the increasing death rate due to the pandemic is going to cost businesses money, Banks is still tweeting the kind of anti-vax rhetoric that has the potential to do more harm still.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com