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Democratic lawmaker notes difference in response to his ‘hoodie’ protest and Gaetz’s ‘gas mask’

Greg Nash

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said in a Thursday tweet that he was treated differently by the House sergeant-at-arms when he deviated from floor dress code to make a point as opposed to when a Republican member did so this week.

In 2012, Rush, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, wore a hoodie and sunglasses on the House floor to make a statement about the dangers of racial profiling — and he was escorted out by the sergeant-at-arms. 

On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is white, wore a gas mask on the House floor during a vote on an emergency funding bill to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

Rush accused Gaetz of “making light of an epidemic that has killed 14 Americans.” 

“Guess which one of us was forcibly removed,” he added.

Gaetz defended the mask, calling it “medically necessary headgear.” He went on to say members of Congress are “human petri dishes,” who are susceptible to contracting the virus due to travel and constituent meetings. 

A gas mask is not typically used by medical professionals or civilians seeking to protect themselves from disease. 

The Florida Republican joined other lawmakers on Wednesday in voting to approve an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to battle the spread of coronavirus, the first major step by Congress to address the growing number of cases and deaths in the U.S.

Updated: 10:50 p.m.

Tags Bobby Rush Coronavirus Hoodie Matt Gaetz Sergeant-at-arms

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