On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Lead," a panel tore into presidential doctor-turned-Republican congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas, who is pushing a bizarre conspiracy theory that the Omicron COVID variant was invented as cover for Democrats to push new expansions of mail-in voting to rig the 2022 midterm elections.
"Congressman Jackson completely disregarding the Hippocratic Oath, first do no harm," said anchor Jake Tapper. "The World Health Organization named it and labeled it a variant of concern, not Democrats, and there's absolutely zero proof of widespread election fraud in vote by mail."
"It's irresponsible for a doctor, it's irresponsible for political leaders," agreed conservative analyst Ramesh Ponnuru. "He manages to be irresponsible in both ways. A lot of uncertainties about this. We don't know how deadly it is. For example, though maybe the most important question mark here, one thing we can now say with pretty much certainty is we'll not get enlightenment from Congressman Ronny Jackson."
"Maybe he was joking," said Democratic strategist Paul Begala. "I fear he's not. I don't know if he believes it or is just trying to manipulate gullible supporters. I just don't know. But physicists are always working on a Unified Field Theory to pull together all into one theory. He's coming close to a Unified Fraud Theory of all the nonsense. The mail-in ballots are perfectly safe. I think the entire state of Utah votes by mail, Colorado, so do other states. So he combines the Big Lie about election fraud with this really eccentric belief that somehow, I guess, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and I were like hiding out, cooked all this up, and then got South Africa — it's nuts."
Politico reporter Seung Min Kim said that Jackson's conspiracy theory is particularly damaging to public health because of his status as a physician.
"Doctors, nurses, medical professionals are broadly, widely regarded, as they are trusted by the public," she said. "There's a reason why earlier this year or some time last year Republicans — the Republican Doctors' Caucus did kind of a PSA ad encouraging people to get vaccinated. Because the public trusts doctors."
CNN panel discusses Ronny Jackson's Omicron conspiracy theory www.youtube.com