Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19

GOP Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertJan. 6 organizers used burner phones to communicate with White House: report Gohmert launches official run for Texas attorney general GOP lawmaker fined ,000 for failing to complete House security screening 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 NadlerUnrequited rage: The demand for mob justice in the Rittenhouse trial Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 JeffriesWill media portrayals of Rittenhouse lead to another day in court? The real 'threat to democracy'? Pols who polarize us with their opinions Jeffries says 'integrity of our democracy' at stake without federal voting rights legislation 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 TrumpFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself Immigration provision in Democrats' reconciliation bill makes no sense 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 CunninghamPediatrician unveils challenge to GOP's Mace in South Carolina 'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Top cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartAnother voice of reason retires Defense contractors ramp up donations to GOP election objectors Bottom line MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court decision MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyDeGette calls for 'lean and mean' health research agency to tackle diabetes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Democrats ask what went wrong on Election Day The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Political earthquake rocks Virginia; New Jersey too close to call MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceLIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms Biden says deadly attack won't alter US evacuation mission in Afghanistan 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 PaulFauci overwhelmed by calls after journal published mistake over beagle experiments McConnell looks for way out of debt ceiling box Senators make bipartisan push to block 0M weapons sale to Saudis MORE (R-Ky.), have also tested positive for the disease.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nadler admonished some GOP lawmakers for not wearing masks during the hearing with Barr on Tuesday, including Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJim Jordan reveals he had COVID-19 this summer The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows The Memo: Democrats may rue pursuit of Bannon MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonOvernight Defense & National Security — Pentagon officials get grilling from House House lawmakers press Pentagon over Afghanistan withdrawal House passes bill to prevent shutdown and suspend debt limit 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.