Bernie Sanders Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert has tested positive for coronavirus. The Texas Republican has not been wearing a mask inside the U.S. Capitol, flouting safety guidelines.
Gohmert was supposed to fly to Texas with President Trump on Wednesday, but tested positive for the virus during a pre-screening at the White House, several administration sources confirmed to CBS News. Politico first reported Gohmert’s diagnosis.In an interview with NBC affiliate KETK-TV, Gohmert said that he had not exhibited any symptoms of coronavirus.
“It’s really ironic, because a lot of people have made a big deal of my not wearing a mask a whole lot, but in the last week or two I have worn a mask more” than he has in recent months, Gohmert said. He suggested that keeping a mask on “might have put some germs and some of the virus on the mask and breathed it in.””I don’t know where it came from, but apparently I have it,” Gohmert said. He added that he would quarantine at home for 10 days.Gohmert told CNN in June that he was not wearing a mask because he was frequently tested for the virus but said that if he contracted it “you’ll never see me without a mask.” Many members of Congress, mostly Republicans, have refused to wear a mask while in the Capitol.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, told reporters that Gohmert had exhibited “really irresponsible behavior.”Gohmert attended two hearings on Tuesday, including the Judiciary Committee hearing where Attorney General William Barr testified. Barr took a COVID-19 test Wednesday, and tested negative, according to the Justice Department. He will continue to self-monitor and be tested regularly, a Justice Department spokesperson said. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accidentally referred to Gohmert as “Congressman Covid,” before correcting himself Wednesday. Although lawmakers were sitting at a distance from each other during the hearing, several Republicans declined to wear face coverings. At one point, Committee Chair Jerry Nadler chastised Republican members for refusing to wear masks, although Gohmert was not among those he targeted.
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“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,” Nadler said, calling out Ranking Member Jim Jordan, Congressman Andy Biggs and Congressman Mike Johnson.Clare Hymes contributed to this report.
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