Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19

GOP Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertNIH director: Mask politicalization may have cost 'tens of thousands' of lives in US Democrats should make the 'Bee-Gees' the face of the Republican Party GOP lawmakers call for Pelosi to be fined over new screenings MORE (Texas), who has largely opted against wearing a mask around the Capitol, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to congressional aides.

Gohmert's positive test immediately led to new criticism on Capitol Hill directed at those who do not wear masks. Gohmert's positive case came a day after he attended a hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr and other colleagues. 

Gohmert, 66, has spoken about not wearing a mask.


"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. 

On Tuesday, Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Gohmert was in close proximity with Barr at one point without a mask outside the hearing room. He also initially did not have a mask on inside the hearing room, but pulled his mask over his nose following a reminder from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' House sets vote for George Floyd police reform bill Jim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' MORE (D-N.Y.).

A spokesperson for Barr said Wednesday that the attorney general would be tested for the coronavirus following the exposure to Gohmert.

Politico first reported Gohmert's positive test.


Gohmert has at times worn a facial covering while on Capitol Hill. But he has been among the handful of GOP lawmakers spotted on the House floor in recent weeks without a mask while mingling with colleagues.

Gohmert also raised eyebrows in March after he returned to the Capitol despite potential exposure to the coronavirus in March while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. Other lawmakers had self-quarantined out of fear of exposure.

Gohmert said at the time that he was cleared by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physician to resume business at the Capitol.

The lawmaker represents a state in Texas that has been a hot spot for the coronavirus, having some of the highest case counts in the country. 

Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJustice Dept. pledges to address hate crimes against Asian Americans Xi'an Famous Foods CEO warns of anti-Asian hate crimes in NYC Democrats snipe on policy, GOP brawls over Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, responded to the news of Gohmert's infection by condemning, more broadly, those Republicans who are still refusing to wear masks as they roam around Capitol Hill.

Those lawmakers, Jeffries charged, are threatening the health of everyone around them simply out of "fealty" to President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE.

"I'm concerned about the irresponsible behavior of many of the Republicans who have chosen to consistently flout well-established public-health guidance, perhaps out of fealty to their boss, Donald Trump, who is the head of the anti-mask movement in America," Jeffries told reporters in the Capitol.

Jeffries urged Republicans to "stop politicizing public health guidance and do the right thing."

"Because they are jeopardizing the safety and well-being of others," he said.

Gohmert is now the 10th member of Congress with a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Reps. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamLobbying world We lost in November — we're proud we didn't take corporate PAC money Chamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartFlorida Republicans push Biden to implement Trump order on Venezuela Here are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Bottom line MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Supreme Court won't review Pennsylvania GOP election lawsuits Pennsylvania's Democratic lt. governor files to run for Senate MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceMarjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP Republicans, please save your party Republican Party going off the rails? MORE (R-S.C.) and Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithHouse Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs Democrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Va.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (R-Ky.), have also tested positive for the disease.


House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) also said in late March that she had been diagnosed with a "presumed" case after displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but was not officially tested.

Most of the lawmakers who've had COVID-19 tested positive in March and April when physical distancing measures to curb spread of the disease had only just begun.

The handful who have come down with COVID-19 since then are all Republicans, some of whom have flouted guidelines like wearing masks.

Griffith tested positive earlier this month only five days after participating in a press conference on Capitol Hill to push for reopening schools for in-person instruction in the fall. Griffith wore a mask at the event, which took place outdoors, but removed it while speaking at the microphone.

Rice had been among the GOP lawmakers spotted on the House floor in late May without wearing a mask. He told CNN at the time that "I'm socially distancing. I'm staying six feet away from folks."

House Democrats began requiring face masks at committee hearings in June shortly after Rice's diagnosis. Some committee leaders, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman James Clyburn (D-S.C.), have since made it a policy to not grant speaking time to any member not wearing a mask.


Nadler admonished some GOP lawmakers for not wearing masks during the hearing with Barr on Tuesday, including Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' Republicans call for hearing on Biden's handling of border surge Jim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonCassidy defends vote to proceed with Trump trial after GOP backlash Cassidy calls Trump attorneys 'disorganized' after surprise vote House Democrats renew push for checks on presidential pardons MORE (La.).

"I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs, and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee, to stop violating the safety of the members of the committee, to stop holding themselves out as not caring by refusing to wear their masks," Nadler said.

Olivia Beavers contributed.