HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A tweet by one of the big six leaders at the state capitol has ignited a firestorm.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff posted the tweet on Tuesday in the middle of that 24-hour virtual hearing on whether the state should repeal the religious exemption for childhood vaccinations.
At 9:22 pm Tuesday evening Duff posted from his iPad: “Let’s be very clear, the anti-vax movement is the offspring of Q’Anon movement. Where Q goes, they all go. #VaccinesSaveLives.”
Q-anon is the far-right conspiracy movement that alleges Satan-worshipping, child sex-traffickers are plotting against former President Donald Trump.
Kevin Barry from First Freedom says, “By trying to conflate that [vaccine-hesitant movement] with Q-anon is an absurdity.”
LeeAnn Ducat represents 2,000 families who vaccinate their children. But they believe in medical freedom and the ability to decide when and how.
Ducat says of the state senator’s tweet, “He’s just using his platform to insight hate. It’s a distraction from the real conversation. They are trying to remove religious liberty.”
Lawmakers were listening to testimony when Sen. Duff tweeted.
Kevin Barry was also watching the hearing and said, “When the kids testified, it was heartbreaking. Six and seven-year-olds saying ‘I want to go to school I miss my friends.'”
More than 100 people commented to Sen. Duff about his tweet. Some not appropriate for reprint or on television.
This one from a Connecticut resident at the Twitter handle @bobistash said, “I have voted democrat my entire life. I am ashamed that you are representing us.”
And this one from a fellow lawmaker Republican State Representative Kurt Vail at his Twitter handle @kurtvail: “This is not a partisan issue, but as usual you make it one.”
The families want an apology and for Duff to step down from his role as a party leader.
Ducat referring to this past November’s election said, “A lot of people voted against Bob Duff in his district…I don’t think he has it in him to apologize. Like I said, he’s not a leader.”
News 8 Chief Political Correspondent, Jodi Latina reached out to Senator Duff for his side of the story. He did not respond. A spokesperson from the Senate Democrats said the senator was not going to be available for an interview.