Holcomb ‘stunned’ by Rokita’s suggestion that pandemic stats are inflated

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb slammed Attorney General Todd Rokita for comments he made in an interview this month suggesting the state is inflating its COVID-19 numbers.

“I will say that I was stunned and somewhat blindsided by the Attorney General when he said he didn’t trust any information because that to me, hit home, and it’s quite serious when you accuse or insinuate anyone of inflating numbers. In my book, that’s called fraud” Holcomb said during a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday with state health officials.

In an interview with WSBT-TV Channel 22 in South Bend on Dec. 17, Rokita told reporter Todd Connor, “I don’t believe any numbers anymore, and, I’m sorry about that, but this has been politicized.”

Connor then asked if Rokita was referring to the numbers reported by Indiana health officials, to which Rokita continued his comments saying, “This has been politicized since Day 1.”

Holcomb said if Rokita, a fellow Republican, has any evidence behind his claims, that he should take the concern up with the state inspector general. The governor said the state health department’s numbers are accurate and that the state acknowledges when there are any errors to correct.

Rokita doubled down, but also attempted to backtrack on his comments in a series of tweets on Tuesday. He wrote he stands by “the concerns of a significant number of Hoosiers and Americans about the politicization of COVID reporting.” He also noted that he’s heard concerns about non-COVID illnesses being reported as COVID deaths.

But Rokita went on to write in the thread that the South Bend reporter “interrupted my response to his earlier question mid-comment and interjected the state health department as the culprit. I continued by finishing my answer to the original question.”

Rokita told IBJ in a written statement on Wednesday that he thinks the issue is not about fraud, and thus is not for the inspector general to address. He did not directly address Holcomb’s comments, and a spokesperson instead referred to the Twitter thread from Tuesday.

“A lack of global standardization of the data and non-uniform use of criteria is an industry-wide management issue, not an Inspector General issue,” Rokita said in the statement. “This isn’t about fraud at this point, it’s about inaccurate numbers and political agendas causing doubt.”

Holcomb said during the press conference that if Rokita did not mean to question the state’s data, he should clear that up by explicitly saying that he believes the numbers.

“Anyone that is spreading misinformation or disinformation regarding our reporting, to me, is just, I believe, just attempting to fan the flames of confusion,” Holcomb said. “That’s exactly what we don’t need at this time if someone has a question they need to raise that question with us.”

Holcomb and Rokita have sparred frequently in recent months over issues related to COVID-19. They have found themselves on opposite sides of a legal spat over a new law the legislature passed this year that allows lawmakers to call themselves into emergency session to deal with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holcomb has argued that the state constitution gives the governor the sole power to call a special legislative session. Rokita has sided with Republican lawmakers who support the new law.

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28 thoughts on “Holcomb ‘stunned’ by Rokita’s suggestion that pandemic stats are inflated

    1. brain drain > smart people leave the state > idiots elect exploitative idiots > brain drain

      it’s a cycle

    2. I’m “stunned” Holcomb is our governor. Rokita, like any free thinking individual knows these numbers stink. Follow the money and the politics. Don’t believe the media. ALL other vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing disease and keeping you from transmitting the disease. These Covid “vaccines” do neither, so the CDC just redefined vaccine. Total B S.

    3. Hey Bernard, if the vaccines don’t work, how come the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with vaccinated people?

      If a majority of people are vaccinated in Indiana, why is it that the majority of the hospitalized are unvaccinated?

      And if the vaccine is just a plot to put 5G tracking devices in all of us, why exactly do they need chips in us if we all carry cellphones everywhere we go?

    4. Yet another lie-driven comment from Bernard… no, it is not true that all vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing disease. It would be great if they were, but they are not. The aim of vaccines is to reduce disease as much as possible, and limit the severity of disease. If they do that, they are considered to be successful. The flu shot, for example, does not prevent anywhere near 98% of flu, but it does reduce the number of cases, and limits the severity of many of the cases that get through, so it is worthwhile. The flu shot saves lives and helps keep hospitals from being overwhelmed in a bad flu year. That is what the COVID vaccine is doing, too, for those smart and civic-minded enough to get the shot.

    5. Robert H— “Brain Drain” I thought all the smart people moved to Canada in 2016? Can you explain which idiots Hogsett, Carson, and the CC exploit to get elected every cycle?

    6. Bernard – just go back to watching your nightly regimen of FOX News infotainment and stay off the discussion boards, ok? You provide nothing, except the same old paranoia fostered by Trump worshippers for almost half a decade now.

      And Rokita is NOT a free-thinker. He’s a sheep. A Trump ideologue following the masses who would rather believe a megalomaniac and his minions instead of listening to non-partisan scientists – some who’ve dealt with every epidemic and pandemic since Nixon was President.

  1. He and his “ilk” were the brain trust behind the Jan.6th attack on the Capitol. Unfortunately, they are just throwing “raw meat” to the Faux News crowd! May Bless America!

  2. Purely political grandstanding projection from our state’s top lawyer. No more credibility to this statement than if he announced he no longer believes the earth is round. No one in Indiana should extend the benefit of the doubt of able leadership to our AG. Disgrace to the office and to the state.

  3. The state’s top lawyer should approach COVID the same way a lawyer would approach a court or law enforcement authorities – with evidence rather than speculation. Apparently he did not speak with the Governor nor Indiana’s Dept. of Health before planting dangerous doubt in the minds of the public.

    The doubts about COVID numbers assume our wide variety and locations of hospitals and medical staff somehow got together to inflate and misinform COVID raes. If so many other maladies are causing hospital overflows with lack of space and staff for all patients, why then weren’t hospitals overflowing before COVID and when COVID surges had temporarily abated?

  4. I hate to say it Rokita, is out to sabotage Indiana and the US. To some extent it reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage.

    1. Sure hope there are better alternatives in the GOP primary in 2024. We’ve lucked out with Holcombs pragmatic/disciplined approach.

  5. Holcomb is “stunned and somewhat blindsided” by Rokita’s fabricated and paranoid accusation? Really? Perhaps Holcomb is “somewhat” out of touch with the now dominant John Bircher takeover of the Republican Party. These folks are certifiable—and that includes anyone who still votes Republican. Here’s a thought: how about impeaching Rokita? You got it right Governor, Rokita’s accusation is fraudulent. Now put your money where your mouth is and lead Indiana to take Rokita out. (Hint: Neither Holcomb nor his party will act. But they like to talk a lot, because the love power. End of story.)

  6. Todd Rokita is wrong! I am a Republican, and I am embarrassed by his ignorance. COVID-19 is real. The new Omicron strain will infect pretty much everyone. I know the saying “numbers don’t lie but liers use numbers”. But this new strain is for real. We are at 260,000 per day in USA. It will be 2 million per day in 15-20 days!

  7. 😥 his like is destroying our state and country.
    …. Please, o please wake up and see the light Hoosiers …

    Dr.Otis Bowen
    Ths Honorble Gov. Edgar Whitcomb

  8. So we went from the groper to the certifiable nut as Indiana AG. Fits well with our motley collection of Republican officeholders. The governor appears to be the only sane one.

    I believe it was Florida’s Charlie Crist who said that he hadn’t left the Republicans, the Republicans had left him. I’m right there with him.

  9. This is a continuation of a very dangerous tactic in today’s public conversation. Just as with the “Big Lie” about the election, promoters sow doubt by using false information and then cite the very doubt they created as the reason to pursue some course of action. “They stole the election.” “People are telling me they believe the election was stolen.” “I must fix this doubt by changing the law.”

    Rokita is doing the same thing here. For some time, he has challenged COVID facts. He now cites the confusion he has created as the reason why people don’t trust the numbers. He does not say he does not trust the numbers. He blames it on the people he has led astray.

    Very cynical.

  10. Is Rokita vaccinated? If yes, why? Surely if he “does not believe the numbers” it must follow that he thinks Covid poses no real threat to public (and his own) health. If he is not vaccinated, then that means he embraces the conspiracy theories that Covid is no more dangerous than the flu. Which begs another question: did he get a flu shot this year? No matter the answers, it all points to Rokita being a totally screwed up and dangerous guy.

  11. Rokita is certainly right that COVID is being politicized… by his own party to suppress vaccination efforts and keep his constituents dying in hospitals.

  12. There is a fact that is hard to deny; Covid has brought out the worst in most of us. In passing we look at each other with suspension and bitterness. Our children are totally confused as to what to do or believe; mask on mask off. Go to school stay home. Sports no sports. Why is dad home drinking beer at noon?
    My grandparents lost a child, in 1920, during the Spanish flu epidemic. She was 2 years old. Her memory was never erased by hate. Her picture was hung in the same frame as those of her brothers and sisters. most of whom lived through a true depression, WWII and were poor but didn’t know it, or were to busy working to care.

    1. What exactly is weak about refusing to learn from history? What is weak about willfully ignoring years of medical progress and knowledge?

      There’s nothing strong about dying a needless death because you’re too weak to admit that you aren’t the smartest person in the room. There’s nothing strong about listening to a bunch of politicians (all of whom are vaccinated) who urge you to not get vaccinated as part of their ploy to keep you angry and voting for them. There’s nothing strong about refusing a vaccine and taking your chances with a novel virus that has killed hundreds of thousands.

      Remember when Indiana Jones confronted the swordsman? Guy shows impressive skill with the sword… and it’s no match for a gun, which Indiana Jones promptly shoots him with. Don’t think you’re a tough guy like the swordsman and go into battle with the wrong weapon. Get vaccinated.

  13. It is possible that action taken by our federal government has sown seeds of doubt among some individuals that don’t completely trust our government based on government corruption that has been exposed in the past. From FactCheck.org, “The CARES Act created the 20% add-on to be paid for Medicare patients with COVID-19. The act further created a $100 billion fund that is being used to financially assist hospitals — a “portion” of which will be “used to reimburse healthcare providers, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” Some may believe that because an incentive to report deaths as Covid “related” has been created, there may be a temptation to report deaths as “caused by Covid”, when old age or other underlying factors may have been as great or greater factor(s) that resulted in death. Some may believe that “whatever you subsidize, expect more of”. If you subsidize Covid deaths, expect more Covid deaths. If you subsidize people that lose their jobs to not return to the workforce, expect more people to not return to the work force. If you subsidize children to be born out of wedlock, expect more children to be born out of wedlock, and so on. Personally, I believe the benefits of Covid vaccination are greater than any risks, so I got vaccinated as soon as I became eligible. I also believe it should be an individuals right to choose to get vaccinated, without fear of losing their job, or any other consequence. At the same time, if an individual chooses to not get the vaccine, and becomes ill with the disease and requires medical treatment, any health insurance coverage they may have should be null and void, in terms of covering medical treatment costs of Covid disease. They should have to sign a contract that they will pay 100% of medical treatment costs before they are treated/admitted. If the Covid case is a “breakthrough case”, then it should be covered by insurance because they made a good-faith effort to prevent/minimize Covid medical treatment costs. Health care insurance in general should be more “consequence of behaviors/lifestyle oriented”. Discounts for exercising and not smoking and maintaining a reasonable BMI, etc. Life and auto insurance does that, why not health insurance?