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Republican lawmaker attends anti-vaxxer rally just days after his unvaccinated wife died of COVID-19, reports say

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/21/2021 (Joshua Zitser)
a man standing next to a brown horse: State Rep. Chris Johansen lost his wife to COVID-19, according to reports. Maine House GOP © Maine House GOP State Rep. Chris Johansen lost his wife to COVID-19, according to reports. Maine House GOP
  • A GOP lawmaker attended an anti-vaxxer rally shortly after losing his wife to COVID-19, the Daily Beast reported.
  • State Rep. Chris Johansen and his late wife Cindy had not been vaccinated, the Bangor Daily News said.
  • Cindy Johansen died on August 10, according to reports, but her husband has not publicly confirmed her passing.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Republican lawmaker in Maine who reportedly lost his unvaccinated wife to COVID-19 attended an anti-vaxxer protest just over a week after her death, according to the Daily Beast.

State Rep. Chris Johansen, who has vocally opposed coronavirus restrictions, joined GOP lawmakers at the Augusta rally to protest Democratic Gov. Janet Mills's mandate that all healthcare workers get vaccinated, Newsweek reported.

At the Tuesday event, a Republican colleague reportedly compared Mills to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who performed cruel experiments on Jewish prisoners at death camps during the Holocaust, the Daily Beast said.

According to the media outlet, Johansen's wife, Cindy Johansen, died a week earlier on August 10.

Although Chris Johansen has not publicly confirmed his wife's death, a Maine Republican Party spokesperson told the Daily Beast that she had passed away.

The Aroostook County Democrats posted a condolence message on Facebook on August 15.

Per the Bangor Daily News, neither Johansen nor his late wife had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

She reportedly started experiencing symptoms in late July. Cindy Johansen shared several Facebook posts alluding to her COVID-19 diagnosis, and on August 7, her husband wrote: "It was all bad news today. Cindy has suffered several major setbacks."

Insider reached out to Johansen for comment, but he did not immediately respond to our request.

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