Three House Democrats are among those who have tested positive to the COVID-19 virus in the aftermath of what’s shaping up to be a lockdown superspreader event thanks to maskless republicans. Roll Call reports:
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., tested positive Monday while experiencing mild symptoms, and said in a statement she believes she caught the coronavirus from her fellow lawmakers while hunkering down as Capitol Police struggled for hours to contain a Trump-inspired mob attack on the Capitol. Early Tuesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., announced on Twitter she also had tested positive “after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”
Rep Brad Schneider (D-Ill) echoed Rep Jayapal’s remarks in his statement to the Chicago Tribune:
“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said on Tuesday.
Video evidence confirms that Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Steve Scalise (LA-1), Andy Biggs (AZ-5), Scott Perry (PA-10) and Michael Cloud (TX-27) were indeed openly mocking and scoffing at Rep Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) as she offered them masks.
It won’t come as a surprise that all the maskless republicans in this video are pro-trump extremists who backed a plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election result. These are very callous people, cold, self-serving and malevolent.
There were people hunkered down in the dark, fearing for their lives, many calling loved ones in case they didn’t make it out. But not these sick seditionists. Add beers and bowls of trailmix to the picture and you’d swear they were kicking back at a favourite bar, not in the middle of an emergency lockdown. No wonder rumours persist that many of them were in on the plot, especially when you learn of their interaction with rioters.
A maskless Mullin spoke to the rioters, many of whom also were not wearing masks, in the moments before they overtook the House chamber before lawmakers were evacuated to the lockdown area. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
I trust his office will respond when the FBI comes calling.
Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), another maskless minion, is a candidate for “patient zero” after admitting in a radio interview that he knew he’d been exposed to the virus (room mate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) received his positive result that morning) but attended the joint session of Congress anyway.
“I wanted to be able to vote as I told my constituents I would, to vote against certification of the election results,” Fleischmann said. “So I got those votes cast.”
It was unsurprising therefore when Fleischmann announced he’d tested positive too. That initiated a call from a District of Columbia Department of Public Health contact tracer but Fleischmann’s spokesman did not respond to questions about whether the republican listed the U.S. Capitol as among the places he had been in the time where he may have been shedding the virus.
In rapid response to this latest outbreak, Reps Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Anthony Brown (D-M), introduced legislation proposing a $1,000 fine on any member of Congress refusing to wear a mask on Capitol grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chicago Tribune quoted Rep Dingell in their report:
“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” Dingell said.
Rep Jayapal added that the House Sergeant at Arms should be authorized to remove any member from the House floor who refuses to wear a mask.
“This is not a joke,” she said. “Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”
Kevin Brady (TX-8) also tested positive and began quarantining Tuesday night. Like Reps Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Kay Granger (R-TX), Brady was infected after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine when it was made available to members of Congress December 18. It’s possible they received the first dose too recently for their immune systems to generate full protection, but it’s more likely that one dose of the vaccine just isn’t a sufficient safeguard.
It doesn’t help that there’s a dearth of data on the effectiveness of one shot in comparison with two. But when a vaccine is fast-tracked, that is what’s lost on the roundabouts when you gain time on the swings.
But when callous and ruthless Republicans are in charge of government and all medical precautions are ignored or rejected, fast-tracking vaccines becomes the lone defence strategy in a rear action battle with the enemy.
Compounding the brutal toll the virus is taking on Americans, pro-Trump extremists are intent on doubling the danger. If their reckless and selfish behaviour isn’t spreading a deadly virus fast enough, they’ll double-down on their disinformation campaigns and seditious plots to inflict fear and physical violence. It’s nonstop mayhem and mass misery with them. January 20 cannot arrive too soon.