A second House Democrat has tested positive for COVID-19 after being forced to take shelter with House Republicans while Donald Trump’s terrorist mob rampaged through the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rep. Pramila Jayapal announced her positive test Tuesday morning, following Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s diagnosis on Monday.
Jayapal was characteristically direct about what happened to her, pinning her COVID-19 directly on specific Republicans who “not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one” and saying in a statement, “Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them. Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.”
A third Democrat, Rep. Brad Schneider, has tested positive following the January 6 lockdown. Like Jayapal, he forcefully denounced Republicans who refused to wear masks, saying in a statement that he’s “angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff.”
Jayapal went on to say that she continues to work while isolating—and that working to remove Trump from office is one of her key objectives. But she also called for penalties—“serious fines”—for House members who refuse to wear masks in the Capitol. “Additionally,” she said in the statement, “any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. This is not a joke. Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”
In an interview with Rebecca Traister at The Cut last week, Jayapal had predicted this, saying: “I’m quarantining now because I am convinced that where we ended up, in the secured room—where there were over 100 people and many were Republicans not wearing masks—was a superspreader event.”
It’s not even subtle that the Republicans refusing to wear masks overlapped dramatically with the Republicans working to delegitimize the election and encourage a coup: Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Michael Cloud, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Doug LaMalfa, Markwayne Mullin, and Scott Perry refused to wear masks while locked down. Gosar, Biggs, Brooks, Gaetz, and Greene would rank very high on a list of those inciting insurrection.
“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks had said hours earlier to the crowd that went on to attack the Capitol. “Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder! Will you fight for America?”
Literally, they incited a coup and then refused to do the bare minimum to protect the people they were locked down with from a pandemic. One form of evil is not enough for these people.
Best wishes to Reps. Jayapal and Watson Coleman for a swift recovery.