Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who refused to wear a mask, tests positive for COVID-19
Rep. Louie Gohmert was scheduled to fly with Trump to Texas on Wednesday.
July 29, 2020, 6:23 PM
7 min read
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who has dismissed calls to wear a mask while working on Capitol Hill, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gohmert, 66, tested positive in a pre-screening procedure at the White House before he was scheduled to fly with President Donald Trump to Texas on Wednesday. Following his positive diagnosis, the representative returned to his Capitol Hill office to inform his staff.
The congressman posted a video to Twitter Wednesday afternoon where he confirmed he had tested positive twice at the White House — once with a quick test and again with a swab test.
“The reports of my demise are a great deal premature,” he said in the video. “I’m asymptomatic. I don’t have any of the symptoms that are listed as part of COVID-19, but apparently I have the Wuhan virus.”
Gohmert went on to claim that he has worn a mask “more in the last week or two than I have in the whole last four months” and suggest he may have touched his face more because of it.
“I don’t know about everybody, but when I have a mask on I’m moving it to make it comfortable, and I can’t help but wonder if that puts some germs in the mask, if, keep hands off your mask, but anyway, who knows,” Gohmert continued. “But now that I apparently have it, I will be very, very careful to make sure I don’t give it to anybody else, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Though social distancing precautions were in place, video circulating on social media from a reporter at The Hill apparently shows Barr and Gohmert, both unmasked, walking into the hearing room in close proximity Tuesday.
Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec says the attorney general will get tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Democratic lawmakers have already expressed anger at the news. In a call with reporters, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Gohmert’s actions “put others at risk.”
“Too many Republicans have continued to act extraordinarily irresponsibly, including Louie Gohmert,” he said.
Hoyer added that House leaders may need to reconsider widespread testing for House members.
After Gohmert returned to his office Wednesday morning to share the results, Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., said in a pointed tweet that members of Congress who refuse to wear masks are endangering both their colleagues and Capitol Hill staff.
Last month, Gohmert said he was choosing to not wear a mask because he was being tested regularly, a reasoning Trump has also used.
“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.
When warned about asymptomatic transmission of the virus, Gohmert replied, “But I keep being tested and I don’t have it. So I’m not afraid of you, but if I get it, I’ll wear a mask.”
The eight-term congressman is the 10th lawmaker in Congress to test positive for the novel virus, sources say.
ABC News’ Alexander Mallin, John Parkinson and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.