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 NadlerHouse passes bill to protect pregnant workers House Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Attacks against the police are organized and violent 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 JeffriesPelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief Races heat up for House leadership posts Postmaster general earned millions from company with ties to Postal Service: report 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 TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response 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 CunninghamGOP leader says he doesn't want Chamber's endorsement: 'They have sold out' Karen Pence stumps for GOP SC congressional candidate House Democrats' campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care 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 PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill 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 passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus Republicans call for Judiciary hearing into unrest in cities run by Democrats Trump, GOP seek to rebut Democratic narrative on night one MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonRepublicans call for Judiciary hearing into unrest in cities run by Democrats GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor The Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute 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.