United States Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a retired Navy rear admiral who served as former President Donald Trump‘s chief medical advisor from 2019-2021, has been spreading conspiracy theories about the omicron variant of Covid-19 on the internet.

Jackson also damaged his reputation when he fudged Trump’s health statistics after he conducted Trump’s annual physical in 2018. He was mocked on Saturday Night Live for his fawning critique of the former [president’s physical condition.

Omicron was first identified by scientists in South Africa last week and has been detected in at least half a dozen other countries. Researchers fear that the numerous mutations to the pathogen’s spike proteins – of which there are at least 30 – may render it exceptionally virulent and able to evade the protections offered by vaccines and boosters. Whether Omicron causes more severe disease than Delta, for example, is the subject of ongoing study.

But Jackson, whose tenure in Trump’s White House was sullied by multiple scandals involving unprofessional conduct and inappropriate behavior including drinking on the job, has chosen to peddle baseless claims about Omicron instead of embracing medical science.

“Here comes the MEV – the Midterm Election Variant! They NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots. Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election – but we’re not going to let them!” Jackson tweeted on Saturday.

It did not take long for the backlash to begin.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., ripped Jackson as a catalyst for the thousands of unnecessary coronavirus deaths that have occurred due to the political right’s fear-mongering about Covid-19 vaccines.

Reiner said on CNN on Saturday that “people like Ronny Jackson, people who doubt the severity of this pandemic, people who have doubted the consequences of not getting vaccinated, people who have doubted the efficacy of masks” are prolonging the pandemic that has already taken the lives of five million people around the world.

“So now as a new potentially dangerous variant is identified, you see this anti-science coming from a former doctor. I call him ‘former doctor’ because that’s how he behaves,” Reinder added.

CNN anchor Jim Acosta called Jackson an “embarrassment.”

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