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U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, A Mask Skeptic, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler
Associated Press
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Politico and ABC News confirmed Wednesday morning.

Gohmert, who spends ample time on the U.S. House floor without a mask, was one of several Texas officials scheduled to fly to West Texas this afternoon with President Donald Trump, Politico reported. He reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 during a pre-screen at the White House.

Gohmert, 66, was one of several lawmakers who participated in a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee that also took place Tuesday. He walked around the hearing room and outside without wearing a mask.

The Republican lawmaker has been known for speaking at length with Capitol colleagues while not adhering to social distancing guidelines. Last month, he told CNN that he was not wearing a mask because he was getting tested regularly for the virus.

“I don’t have the coronavirus, turns out as of yesterday I’ve never had it,” he said in June. “But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask.”

Gohmert also raised eyebrows in March after returning to the Capitol despite potential exposure to the virus at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Though he said at the time he was cleared by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physician to resume Capitol business, other lawmakers who attended the conference, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, opted to self-quarantine.

Several other members of Congress have tested positive for the deadly respiratory virus. Kentucky Republican Rand Paul tested positive for the virus in March and later recovered. Florida Republican Reps. Neal Dunn and Mario Diaz-Balart have also contracted the virus.

Texas, however, has recently become a hotspot for the coronavirus, with the state having some of the highest case counts in the nation. The governor previously issued a statewide mask mandate.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, who chaired Tuesday’s hearing, wished Gohmert “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,” he wrote.

The Texas Tribune provided thisstory.

Alex Samuels is a reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune and a journalism senior at The University of Texas at Austin. She came to the Tribune in fall 2016 as a newsletters fellow, writing the daily Brief and contributing to the water, education and health newsletters. Alex previously worked for USA Today College as both a collegiate correspondent and their first-ever breaking news correspondent. She has also worked for the Daily Dot where she covered politics, race, and social issues.