News & Politics

Who Was Gary Lenius, the Guy Who Allegedly Drank Aquarium Cleaner Because He Thought Trump Said It Cured the Virus?

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Out of all the crazy news stories we’ve seen since the outbreak of COIVD-19 the Chinese virus, the craziest one by far has been the tale of Wanda Lenius, the Arizona woman who claims her husband Gary fatally poisoned himself with aquarium cleaner because he thought Trump told him it would cure the virus. None of the details add up, but the press ran with it anyway because it was an excuse to blame the guy who defeated Hillary Clinton. It was too good to check, so they didn’t. It was Jussie Smollett with a fish tank.

But what actually happened to Gary Lenius? Who was he, really? Was he a MAGA-hatted yahoo who just mindlessly did whatever Trump told him to do? Did he hear Trump say “chloroquine” on TV and start slugging down the stuff he used to clean his fish tank? Seriously?

If you’re skeptical, that makes you overqualified for most jobs in today’s “journalism.” This looks like a job for an actual reporter!

Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon:

In death, he has become famous as a cautionary tale about the risks of mindlessly following the armchair medical advice President Donald Trump has dispensed from the White House podium.

But friends of 68-year-old Gary Lenius, the Arizona man who passed away last month from drinking a fish tank cleaner that contained an ingredient, chloroquine phosphate, that Trump had touted as a potential coronavirus cure, say they are still struggling to understand what drove an engineer with an extensive science background to do something so wildly out of character…

“What bothers me about this is that Gary was a very intelligent man, a retired [mechanical] engineer who designed systems for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa, and I really can’t see the scenario where Gary would say, ‘Yes, please, I would love to drink some of that Koi fish tank cleaner,'” one of his close friends told the Washington Free Beacon. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Read the whole thing.

I’m not saying Wanda Lenius is the Carole Baskin of tropical fish, but Gary definitely wasn’t the guy we saw depicted in the press. That is, before the press dropped the story, once their own embarrassment started to outweigh any potential harm to Trump. They didn’t care whether it was true, so most of them looked the other way when the story started smelling… well, fishy.

After learning more about Wanda, she does not strike me as a reliable narrator. Gary doesn’t seem like somebody who would do something like that, and his widow doesn’t seem like somebody I should trust when she claims he did something like that.

For example, the couple met while working at John Deere, where Gary was a mechanical engineer and Wanda was a temp who later became a full-time employee. After four years, Wanda went on long-term disability from the company because of “gender and age discrimination” she claimed she suffered. She sued the John Deere company, claiming she had rage-inducing PTSD that could be triggered just by seeing a John Deere sign.

Wanda was also charged with assaulting Gary in 2000, a few months after they were married.

Oh yeah, and also Wanda claims she and Gary both drank a lethal dose of fish-tank cleaner dissolved in a soft drink, and that Gary knew what he was drinking before he died.

This is a heroine of the #Resistance? Okey-doke.

Just because a story makes Trump look bad, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. A story that confirms your priors may have happened, or it may not have happened. Being skeptical of outrageous claims is good, even if it might benefit somebody you hate.

But hey, champ, look on the bright side…

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