A Kentucky lawmaker has come under fire for calling Dr. Anthony Fauci compared to cult leader Jim Jones.
Republican Representative Regina Huff, chair of the House Education Committee, posted a photo of Dr. Fauci next to one of the leaders of the Jonestown massacre.
The tweet included a caption under a photo of Jones that read, “I persuaded over 900 people to drink my Koolaid,” a reference to the cult members who died in a 1978 massacre.
And under Dr. Fauci was captioned: “Amateur”.
Alongside the image, Ms Huff wrote, “Some will scold, they won’t be able to help themselves,” before quickly deleting the post.
But a reporter for The courier journal newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky, got a screenshot of the tweet and reposted it.
“I did delete the tweet because of the vulgarity in the comments,” Ms Huff said in another tweet, which was also later deleted.
She wrote that the original tweet was “representative of the efforts to oblige and monitor citizens”.
“Our students have to be at school and the parents decide whether to wear a mask.”
In a third tweet, she explained that her Jonestown reference was “not a reference to vaccinations at all”, but that it was about “mandates and efforts to monitor”.
And she added: “I have no problem with vaccinations. It is everyone’s right to choose whether or not to vaccinate.”
Kentucky has seen more than 473,000 cases of Covid-19 and 7,347 deaths from the virus during the pandemic.
Ms. Huff’s comments come as state school districts decide on masks in schools, and whether vaccinated students should wear them.
The independent has contacted Ms. Huff for comment.
Kentucky state health guidelines currently recommend that unvaccinated students wear masks, but says districts can require masks for everyone if it makes enforcement easier.
A total of 909 Peoples Temple members died of cyanide poisoning in the 1978 murder-suicide in a remote settlement in Guyana.