U.S. Attorney General William Barr to be tested for coronavirus


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Wednesday that mask-wearing was required for everyone working in all parts of the House portion of the Capitol, including in offices.

The Hill noted that Pelosi implement a mask requirement for committee meetings a month ago, "shortly after another GOP lawmaker, Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.) - who was spotted without a mask on the House floor - tested positive for the coronavirus".

It follows an announcement earlier on Wednesday that the speaker would require all House members and aides to wear masks on the House floor after Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Gohmert said he would now wear a mask, but when asked about mask policies, he said: "If somebody feels strongly that everybody should wear a mask then they shouldn't be around people that don't wear masks".

"It's a sign of respect for the health, safety and wellbeing of others present in the chamber and in surrounding areas", Pelosi said.

Gohmert's use of the term flew in the face of warnings from medical historians and public health experts that associating a pandemic with a particular ethnic group can lead to discrimination.

"They're saying I berated staff for wearing masks", Gohmert told Sean Hannity in a Fox News interview Wednesday evening.

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There's no scientific evidence to suggest Gohmert's claims are accurate, and indeed, unless he was sharing his mask with others, his insinuations suggest that he had already contracted the disease before he supposedly "reinfected" himself.

The Republican representative from Texas was also called out by his colleagues for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask while at work.

After the diagnosis, Gohmert returned to his Washington office to tell staff, ABC News reported. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a doctor who says it's unnecessary because he previously tested positive for the virus.

Multiple GOP senators said they were pushing McConnell to allow expanded testing. "So the only reason we would wear masks is if we were trying to protect ourselves from you, in the media, and we're not scared of you".

As recently as Tuesday, Gohmert participated in multiple committee hearings on Capitol Hill, at times without a mask.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) turned down an offer from the White House in May for a similar testing system for Congress because they wanted to direct resources toward front-line workers. The representative has put forth the ridiculous justification that he is a very important person who receives regular virus tests, and that somehow absolves him of responsibility. He said McConnell and the Capitol physician would have to be on board for that to happen, and he doesn't know why it hasn't. Associated Press contributed to the report.