Who was Pressley Stutts? Anti-masker GOP leader, 64, who mocked Delta variant dies of Covid-19
An anti-vaccine GOP official and a firm supporter of former president Donald Trump died of the Delta variant of Covid-19 after severely criticizing mask mandates and downplaying the severity of the virus.
The leader of the Republican Party of the Greenville County, South Carolina, Pressley Stutts, 64, succumbed to the virus on Thursday, August 19 morning after spending almost a month in the hospital. Dan Harvell, a fellow member of the state Republican Party's executive committee, confirmed the news of his death. He said: "I really don’t have words to say about the imprint that he left on the political landscape in South Carolina. He had the kind of personality that enabled him to get done what others couldn’t do. He was like the brother I never had."
Stutts and his wife contracted the virus and were taken to the hospital on August 1, 2021, after his oxygen levels dropped. In a Facebook post the same day, he admitted Covid-19 is "very real," and said, "I have ALWAYS contended that COVID was very real. It is a deadly bio-weapon perpetrated upon the people of the world by enemies foreign, and perhaps domestic," he wrote. "Mandates and coercions DO NOT WORK especially when they come to us from a government that has repeatedly lied to the American People time and time again." Stutts shared in another post on August 13, 2021, that he was going on a ventilator, but emphasized that it was his decision. "Listen to me please: I am making a decision to go on a ventilator. This is my OWN decision," he wrote.
Stutts was a staunch critic of mask and vaccine mandates and frequently attended anti-mask and anti-vaccine rallies. When Vice President Kamala Harris visited in June 2021 to encourage vaccination, Stutts joined a protest group standing outside. He told Greenville News at the time: "People should be free to get the vaccines they want. Free not to get it. But what's happening now is that there's discrimination starting to take place."
He remained fiercely loyal to Trump and promoted the disproven conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden stole the election. In a Facebook post from the hospital on August 4, 2021, he wrote, "Every day in ICU, they give me a cognitive test asking me various questions as to date, where am I, etc. They always ask who the President is and I keep telling them the President is STILL Donald J. Trump! Not going to let them fool me with that poser named Joe. Nosirree!"
Earlier, Stutts also led a group of Trumpers within the local Republican party to expel members who were not supportive of the former president. He told the Greenville Post and Courier in July 2021, "We are following the advice of President Trump, who encouraged all of the MAGA supporters to go out, get involved and take over the parties with their true MAGA supporters. That's what we did."