Being Hunted In The Capitol Riot Not Enough? Congrats The GOP Just Gave You COVID!
During the Capitol siege, Congress members were huddled together in a secured room, an ideal venue for the coronavirus to mix and mingle. Even when not under lockdown, House rules require that members wear masks at all times when indoors, for all the reasons that have become tiresome to repeat. Just wear a damn mask, dummies.
Look, it's reasonable that when you're hiding from the violent mob Donald Trump incited, you might temporarily forget about the pandemic Trump ignored (although much like "Law & Order: SVU," COVID-19 isn't going anywhere). However, Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester from Delaware tried to pass out masks but was rebuffed by at least six snickering members of the GOP's Sedition Caucus. In this video, you can see House members Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania sneer at Blunt Rochester like she's some nerd who's trying to make them wear masks like a nerd.
According to CNN's Manu Raju, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma said, “I'm not trying to get political here." What's political is Mullin's defiance to the most simple public health measures. When John McClane was trying to find shoes in Die Hard, he wasn't making a political statement. How did half the country get so stupid?
Blunt Rochester is a Black woman with a brain in her head who was trying to keep people safe, but these Republican know-nothings insisted on throwing an impromptu superspreader event. Monday, Bonnie Watson Coleman from New Jersey tweeted that after sheltering in place with these maskless morons, she decided to take a COVID-19 test. It came back positive. She's now isolating at home.
WATSON COLEMAN: While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents.
Although Watson Coleman, who's also Black, looks 60 at most, she's actually 75 years old and a cancer survivor. It's not “getting political" to show a modicum of concern for your colleagues who are at risk. You might say it's “pro-life," but today's Republican Party makes a mockery of that term.
Watson Coleman wasn't the only person exposed to stupidity and infected with COVID-19. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state has also announced that she's tested positive. Understandably, she's real mad.
JAYAPAL: Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them. Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.
While I am isolating per the Capitol Physician's instructions, I will continue to work to the best of my ability because the deep urgency of our many crises is paramount.
My former representative is going to impeach Trump again with her mask on and both middle fingers extended.
JAYAPAL: I share the outrage and anger of my constituents and those across this country who have watched Donald Trump fail to combat this raging pandemic and refuse to take care of Americans who are suffering, dying, and devastated. Now, we have also watched him openly fuel and incite these insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol and our democracy on January 6 — so I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office.
Jayapal had the foresight and consideration to quarantine immediately after the attack, because she rightly figured that the COVID Caucus had created a superspreader event. She's now asking that the Republicans who refused to wear masks in accordance with House rules are severely fined and immediately removed from the floor.
JAYAPAL: This is not a joke. 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.
The Capitol's attending physician warned of possible risk of COVID-19 exposure during the lockdown. It's unlikely that any of the Republicans who refused to wear masks will show any remorse for their actions or alter their behavior.
We hope Watson Coleman and Jayapal recover fully and quickly.
UPDATE: Third House member, Brad Schneider from Illinois, also confirms COVID-19 diagnosis. He’ll vote to impeach Trump’s sorry ass by proxy.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."