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Top RNC official in Florida spreads Covid-19 conspiracies, calling vaccines the ‘mark of the beast’

By Em Steck, Drew Myers and Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

Amid recent surging coronavirus cases in Florida, a top Republican National Committee official in the state has spread anti-vaccine rhetoric and misinformation, comparing the Biden administration’s vaccine efforts to Nazi-era “brown shirts,” and twice calling the vaccines “the mark of the beast,” comparable to a “false god.”

A review by CNN’s KFile found that Peter Feaman, a lawyer and RNC committeeman from Florida made the comments on his blog the “The Backhoe Chronicles,” which he publishes regularly in a private group on MeWe. The social media platform bills itself as the “anti-Facebook” app.

“The Biden brown shirts are beginning to show up at private homes questioning vaccine papers,” Feaman wrote on July 20, incorrectly implying government officials would be showing up at people’s homes to question their vaccination status, comparing them to the Nazi Party paramilitary wing.

Previously, he supported far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who used the term and faced swift backlash.

In May, Feaman called Covid-19 vaccines a “mark of the beast” — a reference to a symbol from the biblical Book of Revelations showing allegiance to Satan — and called Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “diabolical” for encouraging vaccines. “Diabolical Michigan Governor Whiter wants her citizens to get the Mark of the Beast to participate in society,” Feaman wrote.

“Now the Michigan Democrat has announced that she is going to prolong the state’s suffering until residents submit to getting ‘the jab’ and if enough of them comply with her demands, then she and Joe Biden might permit them to celebrate Fourth of July,” he added, seemingly referencing the Biden administration’s goal to have 70% of the US adult population with at least one dose of the vaccine by that holiday. (The goal was not met.)

He later added, “Hey Whitmer, we will not bow to your false god.”

CNN reached out to Feaman and the RNC for comment multiple times but neither responded.

Feaman is one of three officials representing Florida in the governing body of the RNC, the political committee which leads the Republican Party. He has served in the position since 2012.

His reelection to the position in 2020 at an annual Florida Republican Party meeting was supported by state party chairman Joe Gruters, and he was previously appointed to nomination commissions for state and federal judges by Sen. Marco Rubio and then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He also served as an elector in the 2016 and 2020 presidential election.

On Sunday, Florida broke its record for coronavirus hospitalizations just one day after the state recorded the most new daily Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

On Thursday, Feaman attacked new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance suggesting wearing masks indoors in places with high rates of Delta variant transmission.

“The wolves want control and power,” he wrote. “As for me and my house–we will fight them.”

In addition to peddling medical misinformation, Feaman spread conspiracy theories. Feaman pushed the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, peddled Capitol insurrection conspiracies suggesting that the January 6 insurrection was a “set up to make the Trump folks look bad” and implied the event was a “false flag” operation carried about by Democrats to seize power.

In another post from February, Feaman shared an article by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager in which the author compared Democrats’ actions after the Capitol insurrection to Nazis who used the Reichstag fire as a means to seize power in 1933.

“What the left is doing in demonizing conservatives and Trump supporters exactly follows what the Nazis did in 1933,” Feaman wrote on MeWe, but said Trump supporters were “not afraid,” adding, “Unlike in Germany in 1933, they have guns.”

In addition to his blog, Feaman also wrote two books — “Wake Up, America!” in 2007 and “The Next Nightmare: How Political Correctness Will Destroy America” in 2012 — that claimed “Islamofascism” was the greatest threat to Judeo-Christian values and the United States.

One of the books appears to feature a doctored blurb from The New York Times Book Review. At the top of the front cover of “Wake Up, America!”, a blurb reads: “‘Wake Up, America! presents a compelling argument Americans cannot take for granted–that the world of today will not necessarily exist tomorrow.—’as seen in The New York Times Book Review.” A similar blurb exists on its Amazon book page.

A spokesperson for the Times confirmed that the publication did not publish a review or cover the title in any way and said they were reviewing the unauthorized use of the Times’ name on the book.

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