In a recent sermon, Kent Christmas, the founding pastor of Evangelical Christian church Regeneration Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, demanded to know why more “big Democrats” haven’t died from COVID-19.
You can hear his remarks in the video below.
“I can’t think of one big Democrat that’s died from the coronavirus. I can’t think of one billionaire that’s died of coronavirus. Doesn’t that make you wonder?”
“Bill Gates is fine! George Soros is fine!”
“[President Joe] Biden’s fine. He’s 80 years old and half dead anyway. Rupert Murdoch’s fine. The CEOs of Vanguard and Berkshire Hathaway and State City and Mark Zuckerberg. They’re just fine!”
Christmas' remarks appear to ignore perhaps the major reason more Republicans than Democrats are dying of COVID-19—Republican leader and former President Donald Trump's rhetoric on the pandemic, whose severity he continues to downplay even out of office.
The vaccination gap between Democrats and Republicans is further evidence of a partisan divide that turned a purely public health issue into a political one. Deaths are highest in counties that voted heavily for Trump.
Indeed, Trump courted controversy from the pandemic's earliest days, when he opined health officials should consider injecting bleach into people's bodies as a means of fighting the virus.
He also claimed the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine can be used as an effective treatment for COVID-19. He even claimed to have taken the drug himself.
Trump's comments prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to warn doctors not to prescribe hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine. The drugs are restricted for hospital and research uses only.
Trump later denied the FDA had ever issued a warning.
After he'd recovered from his own bout with COVID-19, an experience that landed him in the COVID-19 ward of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he insisted news coverage of the pandemic was designed to hurt his reelection chances and should be considered an “election violation."
In making these claims, Trump showed no sign he would change his messaging strategy even as more White House staffers, and even former Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for the virus.
Despite these facts, Trump has pushed back against the idea he is responsible for vaccine hesitancy despite defending disproven COVID-19 treatments. President Joe Biden, by contrast, has promoted vaccination and pandemic protocols since before he took office.
Many have taken Christmas to task for his comments.
Christmas has previously made headlines for pushing the "Big Lie" the 2020 general election was stolen. In remarks that went viral, he made clear he does not believe the election results which unequivocally show President Biden won, are final.
"This is not political," Christmas said at the time, adding the matter goes beyond Trump and Biden and is, in fact, "a war between Heaven and Hell and it's about the destiny of this nation."