A controversial doctor, pastor and conspiracy theorist who President Trump has touted for her false claims about the coronavirus is speaking at a Trump campaign event in Texas on Wednesday night.
Dr. Stella Immanuel is one of three headliners for a Trump Victory phone bank in Houston.
The event was promoted on the Republican National Committee’s Trump Victory website, and Immanuel tweeted to promote the event on Tuesday evening.
Her claim to fame came when Trump retweeted a late July video that featured her falsely saying that the drug hydroxychloroquine was a “cure” for COVID-19, and that face masks did not help stop the spread of the disease.
“This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax. I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need [a] mask. There is a cure,” she declared in the video, wearing a white lab coat and standing alongside other doctors.
But while Trump may have backed off a bit on touting hydroxychloroquine—he didn’t take it himself when he got COVID-19—Immanuel is still a big proponent.
“Hydroxychloroquine works and I believe everyone in America should go on prevention [treatment],” she told VICE News Wednesday evening, shortly before heading to the Trump event. “We take prophylaxis. Me, my staff, and everybody.”
In early July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine because of adverse health risks including heart arrhythmia.
Multiple studies have showed the drug doesn’t help with COVID, but Immanuel dismissed them as being funded by Bill Gates, who she called “crazy” and a “college dropout.” Gates is a common character in conspiracy theories.
Trump’s retweet may have made Immanuel famous, but her other sermons are what made her notorious.
The Daily Beast unearthed reams of truly bonkers comments from Immanuel, including claims that a variety of health issues were caused by dream sex with “spirit husbands” and “spirit wives.” The story caused the term “demon sperm” to trend on Twitter, a moniker the Beast later adopted in a headline and CNN used on air.
“They turn into a woman and then they sleep with the man and collect his sperm,” she said. “Then they turn into the man and they sleep with a man and deposit the sperm and reproduce more of themselves.”
Immanuel also warned that demonic spirits that she called “nephilims,” “incubus” and “succubus” caused health issues.
“They are responsible for serious gynecological problems,” Immanuel said in a 2013 sermon. “We call them all kinds of names—endometriosis, we call them molar pregnancies, we call them fibroids, we call them cysts, but most of them are evil deposits from the spirit husband.”
When asked about those sermons, Immanuel told VICE News the term “demon sperm” was made up to make her look stupid—but defended her comments.
“They pulled up my sermon that I did on people that are having attacks from sexual perverted spirits,” she said. “I was talking about demonic spirits that sleep with women at night…They just used ‘demon sperm’ to discredit me.”
She added that “demonic spirits cause health problems, period,” arguing that doctors haven’t been able to figure out what causes medical conditions like endometriosis and ovarian cysts but that Christian teachings do.
“Sex with demons is a very biblical concept. It was in the book of Genesis. It’s in the book of Jude,” she said.
The video of Immanuel that Trump retweeted was taken at a late July event held by America’s Frontline Doctors, a GOP front group, and promoted on the right-wing Breitbart News. It went viral, garnering tens of millions of views before it was removed from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for spreading false information. Immanuel responded to the deplatforming by promising that Jesus Christ would crash Facebook’s servers if her video wasn’t restored.
Trump later said that he didn’t know anything about Immanuel, but called her “very impressive” and said he didn’t know why the video was taken down because “they’re very respected doctors.”
In other speeches, she has warned that doctors created a microchip “vaccine” to keep people from being religious, senior government officials in the Obama administration weren’t human but had a “reptilian spirit,” and that doctors were using “alien DNA.”
Additional public talks include sermons against “the gay agenda, secular humanism, Illuminati and the demonic new world order.”
In early October, Immanuel blasted Trump’s personal doctors for not putting him on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment while he was fighting COVID-19, saying whoever told him not to take the drug should be “punched in the face.”
She was invited to speak at the Wednesday Trump event by another controversial hydroxychloroquine proponent, Dr. Robin Armstrong, a physician and former Texas Republican Party vice chairman.
“She’s a friend of mine so I asked her to come,” Armstrong told VICE News on Wednesday. “She’s not coming in as an official surrogate. She’s not. I asked her to come because people are interested in her.”
Armstrong, who drew criticism for putting his patients on hydroxychloroquine early in the pandemic (including some nursing home patients whose family members with power of attorney weren’t informed), still insisted to VICE News that the drug was safe and effective for some patients battling COVID-19.
“Hydroxychloroquine has never harmed anyone, I do know that. It’s actually helped a lot of people in this pandemic,” he said.
The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee did not respond to VICE News’ requests for comment.