Michigan governor hopeful hawked supplements as COVID cure: 'You'll dominate any virus'

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Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor and anti-lockdown activist, has also called for a lifetime jail sentence for Dr. Anthony Fauci.

At least a dozen candidates have launched campaigns to run in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for the nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the general election, to be held on Nov. 8 of this year. Among them is Garrett Soldano, the second best-funded of the candidates: Soldano is a Kalamazoo-based chiropractor and former college football linebacker with a track record of coordinating anti-lockdown efforts and spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

Soldano has raised more than $1 million dollars, mostly on the strength of a robust grassroots fundraising network: In the most recent quarter for which data is available, more than 98% of Soldano's fundraising came from donations of less than $200. Only James Craig, a former Detroit chief of police, has outraised Soldano, and only by $300,000.

Soldano entered public life as a major figure in Michigan’s anti-lockdown movement at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

He was a key figure in organizing and articulating the angry backlash to Whitmer's lockdown order during the first wave of COVID-19 in the United States. Soldano started a Facebook page called "Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine" in April 2020; the page attracted nearly 400,000 followers within two months, but was shut down by Facebook the next month for violating the company's community guidelines. While Facebook did not specify what the violation was, Soldano told New Yorker writer Luke Mogelson in August, "There was obviously a lot of hate comments on there, because people are frustrated."

After the page was shut down, Soldano co-founded the anti-lockdown group Stand Up Michigan, which has held rallies across the state against COVID regulations, including events at which attendees burned face masks. Soldano's one major political victory was a successful campaign, called "Unlock Michigan," to repeal a 1954 emergency powers law that Whitmer used to impose the first lockdowns in the state.

Soldano has a history of spreading misinformation about COVID-19, in some cases for his own apparent financial benefit. In 2019, Soldano was hired by Juice Plus+, a multilevel marketing company that sells supplements, and became its national marketing director. In an episode of his podcast, "Change Your Best," released on March 15, 2020, Soldano recommended that listeners sign up for Juice Plus+ supplements to strengthen their immune system and help their bodies fight off a COVID-19 infection.

If someone taking Juice Plus+ was infected, he claimed, they would "get over it." The supplements, Soldano said, turn the body "into an environment of greatness and you'll dominate any virus."

The Daily Mail reported the next month that Juice Plus+ had "repudiated Soldano's claims," but on June 5, 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sent the company a letter warning it against making false claims about both the supposed health benefits of its products and the income people could make by selling them. As recently as Dec. 7, 2021, Soldano said during a livestream on Facebook, "Everything that I have stated [has] always been backed by up-to-date, accurate, and truthful information — everything that has been in front of me at that time — and lo and behold, everything that I've been preaching ever since the beginning has proven to all of us that we were indeed, in fact, right."

During the livestream, Soldano said, "Look, folks, I am a doctor. I am very passionate about nutrition. When this is all said and done in this horrible, evil game called politics, I am going to go back to being a doctor, and I am going to inspire people to take care of their nutrition." While he is a licensed doctor of chiropractic, with a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, he is not a medical doctor, and as a chiropractor he cannot prescribe medications.

On Dec. 29, commenting on a tweet by the right-wing website Newsmax, Soldano wrote that Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, should be sentenced to life in prison.

Soldano is also an author. His "God's True Law: A parent's guide to raising successful children" is a self-help book in which, according to a publisher's blurb, "Dr. Garrett Soldano describes the definite science to being a successful parent."

In the book, Soldano says that diseases and mental disorders can be "caused by interferences in the natural vibrational frequencies." Soldano recommends that parents have their children make vision boards and repeat daily positive affirmations such as "I'm a genius" and "Money comes easy to me" to "program your child for success."

At least six of the Republicans running for the gubernatorial nomination in Michigan have questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's victory over former President Donald Trump. Soldano, along with frontrunner James Craig, has called for an audit of the state's 2020 election results. Five candidates believe that Biden won as a result of fraud.

While Whitmer's fundraising operation, which has $12.6 million on hand, currently far surpasses that of any of her Republican opponents, the race will likely be close. Biden won the state by less than 3%, about 150,000 votes, and Cook Political Report currently lists the race as a toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.