Gohmert was scheduled to fly aboard Air Force One on Wednesday with President Donald Trump to Midland, Texas, where the president held a collection and traveled on an oil rig. Gohmert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday morning during a pre-flight screening at the White House, CNN told a person familiar with the situation.
A senior Republican adviser told CNN that the test results had caused problems on the hill, where “many employees” were asked to take the tests before they could go to meetings and continue working. Some of them prevent themselves from being tested in their offices. The Gohmert office informed Republican leaders, who informed the house’s medical staff, and the protocol triggered another protocol.
Gohmert issued a video statement on Twitter stating: “Reports of my demise are very premature”; and notes that he was asymptomatic. “I don’t have any of the symptoms listed as part of Covid-19, but I probably have the Wuhan virus,” he said.
Several lawmakers said they were planning a self-quarantine in response to Gohmert’s situation, including a Texas fellow Republican Kay Granger, who was sitting at Gohmert’s recent flight.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, said he was also isolating himself.
“I am quarantined until I take the test and then again until there are results. In the meantime, my working hours and the lives of my employees will be scheduled, “Grijalva said in a statement. “It follows from the selfish conduct of Mr. Gohmert, who is only one member of Congress.”
Public attitude criticizing masks
Gohmert said last month that he did not have a mask on CNN because he had been tested and did not yet have the virus. “But if I understand, you will never see me without a mask,” he said.
In an interview with KETK on Wednesday, Gohmert suggested that he might have had a coronavirus by improperly wearing a mask.
“I can’t help but wonder if I would keep the mask and keep it in place, if I put some germs or a virus on it and inhaled it,” Gohmert said. He added that he had worn the mask more in the last two weeks than in the last three or four months.
“I can’t help but think that if I hadn’t worn such a mask in the last 10 days, I would really be interested in getting it,” Gohmert added. “You know, you move the mask around so that it’s okay, we’re required to put some virus on the mask that I sucked. That probably happened. “
Improper use of the mask, including its touch and modification in public, can lead to exposure to the virus. Face masks are most effective when the wearer does not touch their face or move the mask when in use. However, Gohmert’s claim that such a scenario is “most likely” to be infected is controversial, as experts say the virus spreads primarily during personal contact.
He said the virus would not change his mind about wearing masks, but now that he has it, he will “religiously wear a mask” if it is possible that he will come into contact with someone else.
“For the next 10 days, I won’t be around without making sure I have a mask,” Gohmert said. “Because it’s a real danger. When you have it, you give it to someone else, and then it’s a mask, if that’s the most important thing.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone who has a positive virus test be completely prevented from people, if possible for 10 days if they have no symptoms, and otherwise until their symptoms have disappeared for at least 24 hours. Gohmert, who has no symptoms, said he was isolated for 10 days in accordance with these instructions.
Other members of the Republican House asked for masks
Gohmert is one of several conservative Republicans who have retreated in masks at the Capitol and sometimes caused tension during committee meetings.
During a meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr on Tuesday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, called on a handful of Republican members to keep their masks.
“I would like to remind Mr Jordan, Mr Biggs and Mr Johnson to stop violating the committee’s rules, to stop violating the safety of committee members, to stay out of care and to refuse to wear their masks. “, said a Democrat from New York with reference to GOP representatives. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
“Are you allowed to drink coffee?” Johnson countered.
Gohmert also attended the hearing. He wore a mask during the proceedings and was not included in Nadler’s rebuke group. At one point, however, they saw him disguised outside a room near Barr.
Barr was tested for coronavirus on Wednesday and the test was negative. The incubation period of the virus can be between two and 14 days.
At another hearing on Wednesday, California’s Democratic Zoo Loegren leaned forward to remind members who are physically present that they must wear a mask.
“He was a member who was not willing to wear a mask consistently,” Lofgren said of Gohmert. “We remind you that this is very serious, and if you do not want to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth, please leave the room and we will arrange for you to participate at a distance.”
House Speaker of the House of Democrats Hakeem Jeffries, New York, also responded to the news.
“I fear the irresponsible behavior of many Republicans who have chosen to follow good public health guidelines consistently, perhaps because of loyalty to their boss, Donald Trump, who is at the forefront of the anti-missile movement in America. Jeffries said at a press conference. “That’s the problem.”
Covid-19 on the Capitol Hill
Several lawmakers tested the virus for a positive test in the first days of the pandemic, while others had to quarantine the virus after exposure.
Parliament has taken measures to limit the spread of the virus, including the introduction of a form of remote voting for members who are unwilling or unable to travel. Physicians present now vote in alphabetical groups to limit the number of people in the House at the same time. MEPs also adopted the technology of virtual meetings for many hearings in the House.
In May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell jointly rejected a White House offer to send resources for rapid testing to the Capitol complex.
They said they wanted to “continue to direct resources to anti-virus front-line devices” and that lawmakers and staff would use “current testing protocols introduced by the attending physician’s office until these faster available technologies became more widely available. . “
House leader Stena Hoyer said on Wednesday that Parliament does not allow testing by lawmakers at the moment, but “we are discussing it.”
“I think this is the moment when we should discuss it again,” Hoyer said.
This story was updated with further developments on Wednesday.
Clare Foran and Evan Perez of CNN contributed to this report.