Ron Johnson praises anti-vaxxer who compared virus precautions to the Holocaust

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The Wisconsin Republican senator has said he has no plans to get the COVID vaccine himself.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Monday praised infamous anti-vaxxer Alex Berenson following Berenson's brief suspension from Twitter over the weekend.

Berenson claimed he was suspended from Twitter for tweeting about a clinical trial of the Pfizer vaccine, which he said does not prevent COVID-19 deaths. However, the CDC reports that the vaccine has proven to be a safe and effective way to prevent COVID-19 infections and serious illness and death from the virus.

"Alex Berenson has been a courageous voice of reason throughout the pandemic," Johnson tweeted of the former-journalist-turned-spy-novelist who's become a Fox News regular during the pandemic for his attacks on coronavirus mitigation efforts. 

"As a result he has been censored. During his suspension on Twitter, you can find him on Substack, alexberenson.substack.com. He provides a valuable counter perspective to the group-think mainstream media," Johson continued.

Berenson also happens to be promoting a book.

According to many, Berenson has been one of the worst offenders of spreading COVID-19 disinformation during the pandemic — and has been criticized for his false comments.

In April, the Atlantic profiled him in an article titled, "The Pandemic's Wrongest Man." Gizmodo labeled Berenson one of "the worst charlatans of the COVID-19 pandemic." And even the right-wing outlet the National Review has slammed Berenson's disinformation.

On Friday, the Auschwitz Memorial became the latest to condemn Berenson. Berenson had tweeted, "Impfung macht frei," German for "Vaccination makes you free."

It's a play on "Arbeit macht frei," the German phrase that translates to "Work makes you free," which appears over a gated entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust were carried out.

"It's painful  to the memory of Auschwitz and its victims to see this symbol abused and violated," the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted in response to Berenson's comment. " 'Arbeit macht frei' became one of the icons of human hatred. Using it in a debate about vaccines that save human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intelectual [sic] decline."

Many of Berenson's COVID-19 observations have been proven false, including a claim from early on in the pandemic that there was no way more than 500,000 people would die from the virus. As of Sunday, 612,982 people have died in the United States from COVID-19, according to the New York Times.

Despite all of that, Johnson directed the nearly 257,000 people who follow him to follow Berenson for COVID-19 information.

Johnson himself has been one of the worst offenders on Capitol Hill of spreading COVID-19 lies and anti-vaccine rhetoric.

Johnson, who is one of just two members of the Senate who had refused to be vaccinated as of May.

He held a news conference in June featuring people who claimed to have had "adverse reactions" to the COVID-19 vaccine, leading to criticism from health experts, as well as Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore, who said Johnson was displaying a "RECKLESS disregard for Milwaukeeans!"

"COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives & keeping our communities safe," Moore tweeted. "It's infuriating to see Ron Johnson amplifying conspiracy theories after communities in Milwaukee were disproportionately devastated by COVID. He has no shame."

In one head-scratching comment made on Fox News on Friday, Johnson said he is against requiring Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. "unless there's some incredibly deadly disease."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.