Texas Rep. Gohmert Tests Positive for Coronavirus after Refusing to Wear Mask

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) studies notes during a hearing in Washington, July 28, 2020. (Matt McClain/Reuters)

Representative Louie Gohmert (R., Texas), who had refused to wear a mask while working on Capitol Hill, has tested positive for the coronavirus, one day after attending a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General William Barr and other top lawmakers.

The 66-year-old eight-term congressman was scheduled to fly with President Trump to Texas on Wednesday, but tested positive for the virus in a pre-screening procedure at the White House, Politico reported.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department said the attorney general would be tested for coronavirus on Wednesday. Though the hearing adhered to social distancing guidelines, with attendees wearing masks, a video by a reporter at The Hill seems to show Barr and Gohmert walking into the hearing room together unmasked on Tuesday. 

Chairman Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) had admonished three Republican lawmakers for taking off their masks during the hearing, though Gohmert was not the target of his scolding.

Gohmert had previously said he would not wear a mask because he was being tested regularly: “I don’t have the coronavirus, turns out as of yesterday I’ve never had it. But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” he told CNN in June.

When warned about asymptomatic transmission of the virus, Gohmert replied, “But I keep being tested and I don’t have it. So I’m not afraid of you, but if I get it, I’ll wear a mask.”

Nadler wished Gohmert a “full & speedy recovery” in a tweet Tuesday, adding, “When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk. I’ve regularly instructed all Members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson by all my colleagues.”

Representatives Mario Diaz Balart (R., Fla.), Neal Dunn (R., Fla.), Morgan Griffith (R., Va.), Mike Kelly (R., Pa.), Ben McAdams (D., Utah) and Tom Rice (R., S.C.) have all previously tested positive for the virus, as has Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.).

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