Congressman Who Refused to Wear Mask Tests Positive for COVID, Blames Masks

Congressman Who Refused to Wear Mask Tests Positive for COVID, Blames Masks

Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman who steadfastly refused to wear a mask as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

After his positive test, Mr Gohmert, an eighth-term lawmaker, returned to his office to inform his staff in person of the positive result.

During the hearing with Barr, the committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat, New York, chastised some of Gohmert's GOP colleagues for not wearing masks when they weren't speaking.

Gohmert had participated in Tuesday's high-profile House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General William Barr, and was seen without a mask near Barr and others. In his statement, Gohmert also baselessly floated the possibility that he could have contracted the virus from wearing a mask.

"President, if you would not [have] invited me to go with you to West Texas, I would never have known I had the coronavirus, '" Gohmert said.

Mr Gohmert then wondered if his mask was to blame for contracting COVID-19.

The US now has more than 4.3 million reported cases of Covid-19 and is approaching 150,000 deaths.

Following Gohmert's confirmation, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) announced she would be self-quarantining after interactions with Gohmert in recent days.

The Texas lawmaker claimed in June that he was not wearing a mask on the House floor because he was frequently tested.

Many of those lawmakers who didn't consistently wear masks represent states that are now coronavirus hot spots, including Texas, Arizona and Florida.

Rep. Gohmert tested positive shortly before he was scheduled to travel to his home state with President Donald Trump. She said Wednesday that she considered doing so "a sign of respect" and that failing to wear a facial covering on the House floor going forward would be treated as "a serious breach of decorum" that could lead to a member's removal from the floor.

Previously, one of Trump's military valets and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary tested positive for the virus.

Gohmert confirmed the news from his Capitol Hill office, raising further concerns that he returned there infected from the illness as both chambers of Congress are in session. There is no proven science saying that a person can not get the virus again. A Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said that the attorney general would be tested on Wednesday. Barr, who was seen near Gohmert in a video shortly before the hearing, has tested negative for the virus. Across the pond in Britain, parliament temporarily enacted measures to allow lawmakers to digitally attend legislative proceedings in April and enforced social distancing when in building chambers.

The staffers, who spoke on condition of anonymity with Politico, said they were also ridiculed for wearing a mask at work.

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