Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19

GOP Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertRep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies 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.

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"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 NadlerDemocrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence 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.

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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 JeffriesDemocratic leaders: Supreme Court fight is about ObamaCare Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief Races heat up for House leadership posts 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 John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance 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 CunninghamKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-Balart'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnRep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyFederal judge rules Pennsylvania's coronavirus orders are unconstitutional Judge halts Trump campaign's mail-voting lawsuit against Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceRep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-S.C.) and Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithRep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Va.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case Overnight Health Care: Health officials tell public to trust in science | Despair at CDC under Trump influence | A new vaccine phase 3 trial starts MORE (R-Ky.), have also tested positive for the disease.

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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.

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Nadler admonished some GOP lawmakers for not wearing masks during the hearing with Barr on Tuesday, including Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonReclaiming the American Dream LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Mike Johnson to run for vice chairman of House GOP conference 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.