Issues on the Hill

All bluster and no mask.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, has tested positive for coronavirus, a person familiar with the situation told CNN on Wednesday.

Gohmert has frequently refused to wear a mask while at the Capitol amid the pandemic. He has spent ample time on the House floor during votes speaking to aides and lawmakers — without a mask or social distancing.

Well he’s a Republican you see. Republicans are for statues of pro-slavery generals and federal agents beating up non-violent protesters, and against environmental protections and masks during a pandemic. Principle first!

Gohmert had been scheduled to fly aboard Air Force One on Wednesday with President Donald Trump to Midland, Texas, where the President is fundraising and touring an oil rig. He tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday morning during a pre-flight screening at the White House, a person familiar with the situation told CNN. Because of the positive test, Gohmert is not traveling with the President.

A senior Republican aide told CNN the test results have caused issues on the Hill where “a lot of staffers” were ordered to get tests before they can go to meetings and resume activity. Some are sequestering in their offices until they can get tested. Gohmert’s office notified Republican leaders, who notified House medical staff and the protocol kicked in for further notification, the GOP aide said.

Made all the more urgent by the fact that Gohmert mostly didn’t wear a mask.

Gohmert told CNN last month that he didn’t wear a mask because he had been tested and he didn’t yet have the virus. “But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” he said.

Which is idiotic, because you can spread it before you test positive, and you can also spread it after you test negative but before you get another test. It’s not the case that a negative test means “there is no chance that you will spread the virus before the next time we test you.”

He is just one of several conservative Republicans who have pushed back on mask-wearing, sometimes causing tension during committee meetings.

During Tuesday’s hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler urged a handful of Republican members to keep their masks on.

“I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee, to stop violating the safety of the members of the committee, to stop holding themselves out as not caring by refusing to wear their masks,” the New York Democrat said, referring to GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

But freedom.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, also responded to the news. “I’m concerned about the irresponsible behavior of many of the Republicans who have chosen to consistently flout well-established public health guidance, perhaps out of fealty to their boss, Donald Trump, who is the head of the anti-mask movement in America,” Jeffries said at a news conference. “That’s a concern.”

But freedom. Freedom freedom freedom. Our ancestors didn’t fight for freedom for white people only to be shackled by a damn face mask. Freedom freedom.

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