The mask wars take another victim. President Trump is visiting Texas today to talk about the energy industry and Rep. Louie Gohmert was to tag along on Air Force One. He’s stuck in Washington, though, because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gohmert was sporting a bandana face mask Tuesday during the House Judicial Committee hearing with Attorney General Barr. It’s been announced, however, that since Gohmert tested positive today, the attorney general will also be tested, just to be safe. He is on the record, however, as a person not so inclined to wear a face mask. In June he said on CNN, “If I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask.” Too bad he had to find out the hard way that he likely wouldn’t have tested positive if he had worn a mask more often around other people. Ironically, yesterday during the House hearing with Barr, Chairman Jerry Nadler reprimanded several Republican committee members for not wearing their masks but Gohmert wasn’t one of them. Nadler, by the way, wasn’t wearing his face mask while he targeted the Republicans for not doing so.
I want to wish @replouiegohmert a full & speedy recovery.
When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk. I’ve regularly instructed all Members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson by all my colleagues. https://t.co/WstJuAW9BG
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 29, 2020
“Gohmert attended Tuesday's hearing with William Barr in person, where lawmakers were seated at some distance from one another.
But footage from before the hearing shows Gohmert and Barr walking together in close contact, with neither wearing a mask.”https://t.co/6gS7gd7vYF
— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) July 29, 2020
Well, from what I see, Gohmert was walking behind the attorney general, not standing next to him without social distancing in place, but you get the picture the critics are painting. They are having a field day on Twitter over the news. This sort of news brings out the worst in people on social media. Wishing ill of a person who contracts a potentially deadly virus is regular behavior if political points can be scored.
ACTUALLY… here is a video of AG Barr and Gohmert.
While Barr arrived with a mask, it was off when he walked into the hearing room, so both men were not wearing masks at this time. pic.twitter.com/xm6wuq6QvW
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) July 29, 2020
Gohmert is 66 years old and should have been taking precautions regularly, especially while working around so many colleagues in Washington, D.C., to protect himself and his health. Mock me all you want but I’m am still firmly in the face mask-wearing camp. I do the same for other mitigation measures, too – frequent hand washing (though that was my habit anyway) and social distancing in public when venturing out. I came down on the side of caution early on when I realized I’m in a high-risk category. I’d rather wear a face mask than be put on a ventilator, thank you very much.
People don’t have to be jerks about wearing masks, though, as Nadler was during the hearing Tuesday. Democrats love to release their inner authoritarian.
“I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs, and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee,” Nadler said, referring to Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, three GOP lawmakers. “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.”
“Is it permissible to drink a sip of coffee?” one of the members asked.
“It is not permissible,” replied Nadler.
No coffee? Nadler also first denied Barr a 5-minute recess when he requested one as the hearing was winding down. Then he allowed it when Barr reminded him that he had waited for Nadler to arrive at the hearing for an hour that morning and hadn’t even had a lunch break during his testimony.
Some in leadership positions in Congress are now re-thinking regular testing of members. So far Pelosi and McConnell have turned down White House offers for rapid testing for members of Congress. With more members testing positive, the writing is on the wall. The pre-screening process used at the White House before Gohmert was to board Air Force One is how his infection was detected.
This is a key point here — PGA Tour caddies face a stricter testing regime than members of Congress.
After Gohmert news, Hoyer told reporters he's willing to reconsider some mandatory testing: "This is a moment where we ought to discuss it again." https://t.co/XrSNkiD5FZ
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) July 29, 2020
Gohmert has been in the news lately. Last week he introduced a resolution in the House calling on lawmakers to ban the Democrat Party among other organizations and political groups that previously supported the Confederacy and slavery in the United States.
“A great portion of the history of the Democratic Party is filled with racism and hatred. Since people are demanding we rid ourselves of the entities, symbols, and reminders of the repugnant aspects of our past, then the time has come for Democrats to acknowledge their party’s loathsome and bigoted past, and consider changing their party name to something that isn’t so blatantly and offensively tied to slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination, and the Ku Klux Klan,” Gohmert said in a statement.
The resolution is co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Randy Weber (Texas) and Andy Harris (Md.)
Gohmert is being challenged by Hank Gilbert, a Tyler Democrat, and longtime rancher and small businessman. Sunday afternoon a group of Gilbert supporters showed up in downtown Tyler for a protest against the federal agents in Portland. Gilbert scheduled his protest for 2:00 p.m. A counterprotest was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. by Back the Blue.
One report from the event has been filed with the Tyler Police Department detailing an assault and robbery, according to department Public Information Officer Jenny Wells. No arrests have been made, and an investigation is underway, she said.
Gilbert’s campaign manager, Ryan Miller, was assaulted by at least four members of the counterprotest and had his phone stolen, according to a statement from Gilbert’s campaign.
Wells said Gilbert’s campaign reserved the space for its protest through Smith County, while the counterprotesters did not have a reservation but were still allowed to gather.
“Gohmert’s supporters disrupted the rally by shouting, ‘Louie! Louie! Louie!’ repeatedly, including while Miller was being brutally attacked,” the statement said.
Miller “sustained blows to the head and other parts of his body, as well as a large gash under his eye,” and a police report has been filed with the Tyler Police Department over the incident, according to the release.
Naturally, Gilbert drags President Trump’s name into his complaint that Louie’s supporters turned up.
“Louie Gohmert needs to immediately denounce the violence that occurred in his name in downtown Tyler today,” Gilbert said in a statement following the incident. “When your armed thugs are shouting your name as they beat the hell out of a 21-year-old political operative, you need to get your people under control. Gohmert also needs to get his disgusting rhetoric under control, because, just like Donald Trump, the vitriol that spills out of his mouth leads to violence. This time, against a 21-year-old college kid.”
Gilbert can blame Trump’s “vitriol” for violence all he wants, but the fact is that Black Lives Matter protests were turning into riots with the help of Antifa and other agitators as far back as when BLM began in 2013. Did the Democrats hold President Obama responsible for that violence due to his vitriol? That’s a rhetorical question. Also, it strikes me as odd that Gilbert has a 21-year-old “college kid” as his campaign manager.
So, now Gohmert will have to self-quarantine. He already made additional waves by going back to his office and informing his staff that he tested positive instead of just heading to wherever he’ll self-quarantine.
Just want to emphasize — Rep. Gohmert returned to his Capitol Hill office & told staff he wanted to inform them *in person* instead of finding out from news reports. Some staffers were already in the process of leaving as Gohmert came back, I'm told. https://t.co/Aie1K2jPAc
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) July 29, 2020