Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) joined many of her Freedom Caucus colleagues in a full-blown “globalist” conspiracy press conference yesterday.
In addition to a dozen or so members of Congress, the “Exit the WHO [World Health Organization]” event at the Capitol featured organizer Frank Gaffney, a notorious Islamophobe whose Center for Security Policy is an anti-Muslim hate group.
Gaffney and the lawmakers, including Boebert, made numerous unsubstantiated claims, from the World Health Organization being controlled by China, to blaming it for the COVID pandemic, to claiming it is the vehicle for a plot to force all nations under a single worldwide government.
Gaffney kicked off his remarks with a claim that has been repeatedly debunked:
“The Chinese Communist Party runs the World Health Organization,” said Gaffney. “It runs the World Health Organization in furtherance of its long-standing objective of global governance- that’s one world government.”
In advance of the rally, Gaffney’s Sovereignty Coalition has created a “meme library” for the purpose of attacking the WHO.
The images are rife with unsubstantiated conspiracies, including one that says: “The W.H.O. killed over One Million Americans?” presumably blaming the organization for all American COVID deaths.
None of this is true.
The fact checks debunking the various claims are legion, and longstanding. Here’s a line from the Associated Press:
“CLAIM: A legally-binding World Health Organization ‘pandemic treaty’ will give the organization the authority to control U.S. policies during a pandemic, including those on vaccines, lockdowns, school closures and more. AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The voluntary treaty, which is in draft form and is still far away from ratification, does not overrule any nation’s ability to pass individual pandemic-related policies, multiple experts, including one involved in the draft process, told The Associated Press.”
Boebert mentioned several classic conspiracy tropes in her brief speech. As the fact-check above makes clear, the U.S. is not surrendering its sovereignty to the WHO. She then lists three reasons the WHO is bad: she claims it’s controlled by China, it’s linked to the World Economic Forum, and it sabotaged the investigation of COVID’s origin. None of these are true. The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, governed by an executive board of 34 countries that currently includes the United States and China.
While there are disputes over how aggressively the WHO pursued the COVID origin investigation, it’s Boebert’s second point that raises the conspiracy red flag. Without any context or follow-up, she links the WHO to the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is a dog-whistle reference that “globalist” conspiracists no doubt heard loud and clear.
“On Day One Biden made it clear he wasn’t fit for the job when he brought the United States back into the World Health Organization,” said Boebert. “The results of Biden’s failed foreign policy is absolutely astonishing. The Biden Administration plans to surrender U.S sovereignty to unelected bureaucracy— [interrupted by heckler]. To paint a clear picture the Biden Administration is giving the same organization that is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, the same [that has an] affiliation with the World Economic Forum, and the same organization that sabotaged an investigation into the origin of COVID, more control over the American people’s lives. The WHO continues to spread lies and disinformation by praising China’s response to the virus as transparent, which frankly isn’t true. “Before Biden took office the WHO was unable to do anything without written permission from our government. Now, if Joe Biden gets his way the WHO will have even more control over the most most private parts of our lives. This is not about public health! The WHO made it very clear they will censor anyone who does not agree with their agenda to control every aspect of people’s lives. They want total control over vaccinations, digitalization of health records, and your travel. Under this plan the Biden Administration is adopting Marxism by distributing medicine based on “equity.” This is not what a constitutional republic looks like. This is a dictatorship and we must defund the WHO and stop this radical agenda being put forward by the Biden Administration.”
Responding to an email request for evidence of her claims and comment on her participation in the rally, a spokesman for Congresswoman Boebert sent a number of links to previous statements and two published reports.
With regards to why she references the World Economic Forum, the spokesman offered five previous tweets she wrote attacking the WEF.
“Rather than trying to please Klaus Schwab and George Soros, the people elected to serve our nation should try and actually make the lives of the American people better.”
“Klaus Schwab: ‘The future is being built by us.’ Take it from me, you don’t want to be a part of ANY FUTURE designed by the WEF – because globalism isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM CONTROLLING YOU.”
Another tweet references a conspiracy that “the WEF announced they hired hundreds of thousands of “information warriors” to police the social media narrative.” The conspiracy was debunked the same day as Boebert’s tweet.
Conspiracies accusing the World Economic Forum of attempting to control the planet and place all humans under a single global government are widely understood to be antisemitic.
Her office also shared a May 2022 opinion column by former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson that contained nearly all the points Boebert made in her speech, some in nearly identical language.
A week prior to yesterday’s rally, Gaffney’s group also shared content from another organization making the same “call: “defund and withdraw” call: the infamously racist and conspiracist John Birch Society.
U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Chip Roy (R-TX) urged the public to call Congress and demand passage of a pair of bills they have introduced that would end American payments to the WHO and withdraw the United States from the agency.
The John Birch Society also supports their legislation, as well as the overall “Exit the WHO” demand. It echoes the Sovereignty Coalition’s conspiracist claims on its own website:
“The WHO’s threat to national sovereignty and individual freedom is becoming increasingly blatant and obvious,” claims the John Birch Society. “Not only is the WHO effectively controlled by Communist China and other subversive globalist interests, but it is actively seeking greater, totalitarian control over its member nations, along with all of humanity. If the WHO gets its way, U.S. national sovereignty will become a thing of the past, and the WHO will have total power to mandate vaccinations, impose vaccine passports, and implement a digital health ID — worse, the Biden administration is trying to help the WHO achieve its tyrannical goals.”
Another Sovereignty Coalition meme links the WHO to drag queens, apparently implying some sort of international plan to introduce LGBTQ content to children.
Boebert isn’t the only Coloradan connected to the Sovereignty Coalition. Dede Laugesen, a former Trump campaign staffer and wife of Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen works for Gaffney.
She promoted the rally on social media and was praised by longtime anti-WHO activist James Roguski, who after the event wrote “All the credit for the press conference goes to Frank Gaffney, Reggie Littlejohn, DeDe Laugesen, everyone at Sovereignty Coalition.”
The full video of the press conference is available to watch here.
Boobert, my congresswoman a thigh holster wielding, mispeaking troll who has DONE NOTHING FOR OUR DISTRICT.
The only thing left for them to peddle is fear. They got nothin’ else. Fascism is onboarding in an unsurprising way: wrapped in Old Glory and carrying a White Jesus bible.
It works which is why they use it. We came close prior to our entry into WWII but the south wouldn't listen to a nutbag Father Caughlin, Nazi leaning priest from Detroit on the radio.
That's because their fear of the Pope outweighed their affection for Nazism and its racism.
They've overcome that since by teaming up with arch-conservative Catholics in their joint endeavor of treating fertilized eggs as fully developed human beings.
Opposition to World Health Organization … because after all, germs and disease respect national boundaries.