House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House debates vaccines for air travel McCarthy on Dems' spending bill: 'The amount of money we spent to win World War II' Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE (R-Calif.) took a jab at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) over a newly reinstated mask mandate in the chamber, saying the move was not based on science.
"The Speaker of the House said that people who are fully vaccinated but don't support wearing a mask are morons. She wanted to say that the House should follow the science. Madam Speaker, you don't know the facts, nor the science, so let's talk about it," McCarthy said on the House floor during a speech Wednesday.
McCarthy was referring to a comment made by Pelosi earlier Wednesday in which she called him a "moron" for opposing the mask mandate.
In his remarks, McCarthy claimed that the vaccination rate for members of Congress was more than 85 percent and the transmission rate on the Capitol’s campus was less than 1 percent adding, “Well the facts would tell us this isn’t a hot spot. So the CDC recommendation doesn't apply to us,” McCarthy later continued.
“Worst of all, this administration and now this House has broken the country's trust,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy was alluding to updated guidance issued Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that advised people who have been fully vaccinated to once again wear masks in “public, indoor settings” in areas of the country that either have “substantial” or “high” levels of transmission.
Late Tuesday night, Capitol physician Brian Monahan had announced that masks would be required on the House side to combat the spread of the delta variant. Lawmakers can face fines if they do not comply with the new rules.
CNN has reported that 46 of 50 senators have been vaccinated as well as 114 House Republicans out of 211. CNN also confirmed that 100 percent of congressional Democrats in both chambers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
McCarthy claimed that the move should have also been applied to the Senate, saying that the average age of senators was higher than that of House members.
“You see, you have to wear your mask here otherwise you're fined because that's what government should do — they should punish people. … But if you walk across the hall, you get somewhere around the Rotunda, you don't have to wear it anymore. Somehow the science is different,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy again targeted Pelosi over visiting a hair salon during the COVID-19 pandemic during a time when San Francisco instituted restrictions on salon services. He also referred to California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomRepublicans trapped in a media prison of their own making Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party The Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out MORE (D) who was photographed at a dinner with a group of people while no one was wearing masks.
Pelosi said at the time that she was told that one customer could be inside the salon at a time.
"I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I've been to over the years many times, and that when they said that we're able to accommodate people one person at a time and that we could set up that time, I trusted that. As it turns out, it was a set up. So I take responsibility for falling for the set up," Pelosi said at a press conference in San Francisco last September.
Newsom had also issued an apology after a photo circulated online.
“I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that,” Newsom said in November.