In this research, we identified how political beliefs impact emergency manager’s perception of COVID-19 severity and risk. Specifically, we gathered data from people with a broad range of roles in emergency management including healthcare, mitigation, response, fire, rescue, and other areas. We asked respondents their beliefs about the severity of COVID-19, their belief in health conspiracy theories, and the public health measures associated with COVID-19 response. Quantitative results showed political affiliation was a predictor for belief in health conspiracies, as well as beliefs about social distancing as a proper mitigation measure for the spread of COVID-19, and that age and years in emergency management were not significant predictors for beliefs in health conspiracies. Qualitative results included several main themes, including frustration about the politicization of COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, challenges in PPE (personal protective equipment) procurement, tension between public health and emergency management, misinformation about COVID-19, and lack of leadership at the federal level. These findings fill a gap in the literature regarding how political beliefs shape risk, trust, decision-making, and collaboration within emergency management.