The Virus Skeptics of the GOP (Who Got Covid-19 Anyway)

Missouri Governor Mike Parson is the latest high profile doubter to get the disease

Max Ufberg
Published in
3 min readSep 28, 2020


Governor Mike Parson greets fans at the 2018 PGA Championship. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Even after the deaths of more than 200,000 people and the collapse of the economy, some Republican politicians refuse to take Covid-19 prevention measures seriously. Take Mike Parson, for example: Throughout the summer, the Missouri governor was criticized for attending events without a mask. “When there’s a requirement to wear a mask, I wear a mask,” he said in July. “Am I going to be perfect about it, no.”

Now Parson has joined the growing ranks of GOP politicians who contracted the coronavirus after dismissing its risks or the need to take personal prevention measures. His wife also tested positive for the virus, he announced last week.

Below, a brief list of conservatives who downplayed the virus — and then got it.

1. Rep. Louie Gohmert

The Texas congressman made headlines for his refusal to wear a mask, explaining in June that he wasn’t obligated to wear one because he wasn’t infected. (To be clear: That’s not how masks work.) One month later, he tested positive for Covid-19. The worst part: After receiving his diagnosis, Gohmert went to Capitol Hill to tell his staff the news in person.

2. State Sen. Tom Barrett

The Michigan state senator sponsored a bill in April to limit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers. Though he tested positive for the virus in August, Barrett maintained his opposition to Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic. “How we govern our state is not something that should change based on someone’s unique circumstances, like mine,” he said, explaining that he was concerned by the concentration of “all political power under one person.”

3. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith

The Virginia lawmaker and Freedom Caucus member was diagnosed in mid-July, just a few days after he delivered an impassioned call for schools to reopen in the fall. Griffith delivered those comments at a press conference outside the Capitol. He wore a mask to the event, then took it off when he spoke.

4. Rep. Tom Rice



Max Ufberg
Writer for

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired