Republican Who Blamed Uvalde Shooting on Transgender Medicine Wins Primary

Michele Fiore, a Republican running for Nevada treasurer who blamed the Uvalde school shooting on transgender medicine, won her primary on Tuesday, AP projects.

On May 24, 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, fatally shooting 19 students and two teachers in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. The shooting led to renewed calls for gun control and mental health care to solve America's gun violence epidemic.

Fiore, who currently serves on the Las Vegas City Council, however, blamed the shooting on health care for transgender individuals—and secured the Republican nomination to become the next state treasurer.

AP projects Fiore has won the race after she accrued more than double the number of votes as opponent Emanuel Kess with 65 percent of the vote counted. At the time of reporting, Fiore has 71,434 votes (61 percent of the vote) to Kess with only 34,531 (30 percent of the vote).

She will now face incumbent state Treasurer Zach Conine, a Democrat who faced no primary challenger, in November in the swing state that will be home to several battleground races.

Michele Fiore wins Nevada primary
Michele Fiore, a Republican running for Nevada treasurer who currently serves on the Las Vegas City Council and who blamed the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting on transgender medicine, won her primary on Tuesday. Above, then-Mayor Pro-Tem Fiore speaks during a city council meeting held amid the COVID-19 pandemic on May 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

While speaking at a campaign event on June 5, Fiore sought to dismiss calls for enhanced gun control measures, instead blaming the shooting on health care for transgender individuals—repeating a baseless claim spread in far-right circles online.

In the wake of the shooting, she said the government should "ban pharmaceutical companies" that provide gender-affirming health care to the transgender community, including hormone therapy.

"You know what we have to ban? We have to ban the pharmaceutical companies that are giving these individuals pharmaceutical psychotropic drugs," she said, claiming the shooter was on drugs that would adversely affect his mental state, an allegation that has not been confirmed by any evidence.

She added that he was "on a lot of different medications from transgendering, so his mind was quite defective."

There has been no proof that Ramos was transgender. Additionally, studies have found that transitioning does not cause a "defective" mental state. In fact, a 2020 study from The American Journal of Psychiatry found that transitioning was associated "with a decrease in mental health treatment over time."

The rumors regarding Ramos were started after multiple tweets included photos claiming to show Ramos wearing feminine clothing, but a Newsweek fact check previously found that "none of the photos were either of Ramos or verifiable as him."

Still, the claims were parroted by several high-profile conservative figures including Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, who described Ramos as a "transsexual leftist illegal alien" in a tweet that was deleted after about two hours. One user on Reddit even claimed some of the photographs being spread were actually pictures of them, not Ramos.