The Intercept: Over 100 Houston Doctors Slam Rep. Dan Crenshaw for “Spreading Dangerous Disinformation” on Coronavirus
July 17, 2020
HOUSTON, Texas -- Today, more than 100 Houston medical doctors spoke out to condemn Congressman Dan Crenshaw and his dangerous COVID-19 disinformation.
Click here for the full article, and see below for some key points.
By Rachel Cohen
July 17, 2020
More than 100 doctors, medical professionals, and emergency room physicians in the Houston area have signed their names to a letter condemning Republican Rep. Daniel Crenshaw for spreading misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been ravaging the Texas city hard in recent weeks.
The doctors didn’t mince their words. “The COVID-19 pandemic should not be a partisan issue — that’s why even Governor Abbott is finally stalling the reopening process and implementing the mask mandates that he unwisely blocked just two short months ago,” the medical workers, who are primarily women, wrote in the letter, which is first being reported on by The Intercept. “Dan Crenshaw, on the other hand, has spewed lies for the past four months — minimizing the threat we face and spreading dangerous disinformation for self-indulgent headlines.”
Doctors rarely ever make such pointed political statements, but the urgency of the coronavirus crisis — and the real harm caused by disinformation spread by elected officials — prompted the Houston-area physicians to speak up, especially as Republicans in the state continued to promote large, indoor gatherings against the advice of public health experts.
The list of Crenshaw’s comments undermining the seriousness of the pandemic runs long. He has also taken it upon himself to strongly defend the Trump administration’s response to the public health crisis. In mid-April, the first-term representative recorded a video entitled “Debunking the Left’s COVID-19 Narrative” where he defended President Donald Trump’s pandemic response.
Between Memorial Day and mid-June, Texas’s hospitalization rate shot up by 36 percent, a fact that Crenshaw has downplayed. “If you just hear 36 percent increase, that does sound like a lot. … In reality, it’s under 500 additional hospitalizations out of a state of 30 million people,” he said on his podcast. “So it’s really not a lot. … We’re so far away from being in over-capacity or even close to it that it’s laughable.” … When a Harris County judge said around the same time that Texas “may be approaching the precipice of a disaster” Crenshaw blasted her for “pure and simple fear mongering.” He also added that “people have figured out what they need to do to remain safe.”
In their letter, the doctors criticized Crenshaw for “undermin[ing] the advice of our public health experts at every turn — enabling millions of his followers to the same.” This mixed messaging, they say, left medical workers “handicapped in our mission” to protect Texans from the start of the pandemic.
“We need elected officials who don’t throw out meaningless platitudes while trying to shift blame to the institutions working to keep us informed and protected,” the doctors wrote. “Please Congressman Crenshaw. We are tired. We are your neighbors. … We implore you to stop playing politics with our lives, stop spreading dangerous disinformation, and start leading by example.”
Crenshaw, who represents Texas’s 2nd District — which includes much of northern and western Houston — is facing off in November against Democratic challenger Sima Ladjevardian, an attorney and former adviser to Beto O’Rourke. The race is one of the seven Texas House seats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has deemed most competitive and possible to flip.
“Now more than ever we need a leader who will listen to our medical heroes, guide Houston toward a recovery, and protect Texans with pre-existing conditions,” said Ladjevardian. “Our medical frontline heroes are begging Congressman Crenshaw to stop spreading disinformation and start acting responsibly, but he won’t.”
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Sima Ladjevardian (SEE-ma LAHJ-ee-VAR-DEE-un) is a lawyer, a mother of two, a breast cancer survivor, and a political activist who has called Houston home for more than 30 years. After fleeing the political upheaval of the Iranian Revolution, her family immigrated to the United States for their shot at the American Dream. Eventually settling in Houston, Sima has become a local leader in cross-cultural dialogue, bringing Texans of all backgrounds and faiths together for social justice. As an activist, she has worked tirelessly to turn Texas blue and elect candidates up and down the ballot — all while serving senior roles in Beto O’Rourke's senate and presidential campaigns. She has been recognized by the University of Houston for her tireless philanthropic and nonprofit work in the community, and she is fueled by the desire to fight for quality, affordable health care, justice, and unity in the United States Congress.