Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19

GOP Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGaetz, Greene and Gohmert turned away from jail to visit Jan. 6 defendants House GOP stages mask mandate protest Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony 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 NadlerBiden backs effort to include immigration in budget package Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Britney Spears's new attorney files motion to remove her dad as conservator 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 JeffriesJeffries: 'Sick and cynical' for GOP to blame Pelosi for Jan. 6 Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills 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 TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 Cunningham'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Top cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave Joe Cunningham to enter race for South Carolina governor MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartDefense contractors ramp up donations to GOP election objectors Bottom line GOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnSix takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court decision OVERNIGHT 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 MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyLobbying world Lobbying world Liz Cheney says McConnell, McCarthy are heads of GOP MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RicePro-impeachment Republicans outpace GOP rivals in second-quarter fundraising Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE (R-S.C.) and Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithGOP lawmakers press social media giants for data on impacts on children's mental health Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack House Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs MORE (R-Va.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Only two people cited by TSA for mask violations have agreed to pay fine Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill 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 JordanJordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 AP Fact Check rates GOP claim Pelosi blocked National Guard on Jan. 6 'false' Officers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonGOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Republicans divided on how hard to push vaccines McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee 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.