The summer of Glenn Grothman continues with request for conspiracy theorist to speak to Congress

    In his previous position as state senator, Glenn Grothman scolds protesters. CC BY 2.0

    This summer, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothmann has espoused the benefits of vitamin D as a treatment against COVID-19; suggested Wisconsin schools — which have the widest achievement gap between Black and white students in the nation — don’t have problems with racial inequities; invoked the name of a far-right martyr on the House floor; had a coughing fit as he said “Donald John Trump” at the in-person Wisconsin GOP convention; pushed for the opening of schools in the fall over the objections of teachers and, as he voted not to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol, criticized U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice on the Court, for his pro-choice views, saying Marshall does not deserve to be memorialized with a statue.

    Aside from all of that, on July 14 Grothman attended a hearing held by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, part of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The day’s topic was “Guardrails to Ensure a Safe and Effective COVID-19 Vaccine.”

    When it was Grothman’s turn to speak, he asked if conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits should be on a future panel about vaccines. 

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    “Right now, somebody gave me a book, ‘Plague of Corruption’ by Judy Mikovits, who is sometimes very pro-vaccine, sometimes jaded about vaccines,” Grothman said. “We have five people on the panel today and nobody’s particularly jaded to the degree which she is. I wonder if people feel somebody like her should be on a panel today or be in the room as we rush vaccines to market.”

    “Could somebody comment on her?” he continued. “Do you think it’d be good to have someone on a panel like this who maybe thinks we’re a little bit over-vaccinated in America and isn’t going to be so gung-ho vaccine [for] everybody.”

    Mikovits was featured in the conspiracy documentary “Plandemic” that was banned from Facebook and Youtube earlier this year. She’s made a number of false and misleading claims about COVID-19. She said getting a flu shot increases someone’s risk of contracting COVID-19 and promoted bleach as a treatment for the virus.  

    In the book Grothman cites, Mikovits and her co-author, anti-vaccine blogger Kent Heckenlively, falsely imply that Dr. Anthony Fauci ordered the murder of a virologist in 2013. Mikovits also compares herself to Galileo, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Jefferson. 

    Grothman himself has a history of anti-vaccine actions and rhetoric. In 2017 Grothman asked disability rights attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick if vaccines cause autism — a claim that has been repeatedly disproved. In 2013, as a state representative, Grothman defended a bill that would outlaw policies requiring employees to get flu shots.

    Henry Redman
    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.