Capitol Hill erupts after mask-defying Louie Gohmert tests Covid-19 positive, GOP complies with Pelosi's order
The coronavirus pandemic has started making a big impact on politicians. Herman Cain, a former presidential hopeful and a Donald Trump ally, died of the disease on Thursday, July 30. And a day before, it was revealed that Texas Republican lawmaker Louie Gohmert tested positive for Covid-19, leaving his colleagues upset over how the Capitol Hill has handled the pandemic on its floor.
The news about Gohmert, 66, has made the lawmakers even more upset since he stalked the halls of the Congress without sporting a mask, something even President Donald Trump has done on most occasions even as cases spiked. For months, Congress has allowed its members to enter the Capitol without being tested for the virus which has killed more than 152,000 people in the country and affected nearly 4.5 million. The Congress trusted that those doing the rounds in the sprawling spaces will behave in a responsible manner.
But after Gohmert’s case came to the fore, people were left fuming. According to a report in Politico, members, legislative aides, chiefs of staff, press assistants, maintenance personnel and others are angry over the institution neither making uniform rules nor implementing masking requirements and nor even mandating testing.
Pelosi has warned against not wearing masks in House
The House of Representatives has now ordered that all members and staff should wear masks and Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that anybody who breaks the law would be driven out from the chamber. On Thursday, the House saw a complete compliance with even the GOP members wearing the face coverings.
Gohmert is among those Republican lawmakers who often moved around the Capitol without wearing a mask. He was, in fact, set to travel with Trump the day he tested positive while undergoing White House travel-related routine test. The eighth-term lawmaker then returned to his office to inform his staff members in person about the result. He was wearing a mask then, reports said. Gohmert even gave an interview to Texas station KETK in which he blamed the mask for the infection.
“I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, I might have put some germs - some virus - on to the mask and breathed it in,” he said. Gohmert is the second GOP lawmaker in three weeks to test coronavirus positive.
On Tuesday, July 28, Gohmert frequently removed his mask while appearing for a hearing with Attorney General William Barr for hours. According to GovTrack.us, three Democrats and seven Republicans have tested positive for the virus.
Trump had been against wearing the mask throughout. Though, of late, he has been less stubborn on the matter. Recently, he even said that the act of wearing the mask is “patriotic.” The president donned a mask for the first time only on July 11 when he visited injured service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He wore it again on July 27 during a visit to a plant in Morrisville, North Carolina, where work is underway to discover the vaccine for the coronavirus.