The news reverberated across Capitol Hill on Wednesday, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to announce new rules requiring masks on the House floor and renewing a debate about access to testing for members of Congress and their staff. The diagnosis also comes as congressional leaders from both parties remain far apart in negotiations over a stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gohmert had been scheduled to fly aboard Air Force One on Wednesday with President Donald Trump to Midland, Texas, where the President held a fundraiser and toured an oil rig. Gohmert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday morning during a pre-flight screening at the White House, a person familiar with the situation told CNN.
“My doctor and I are all in,” Gohmert said on Fox News on Wednesday evening, adding that he would start taking the drug “in the next day or two.”
Mr. Gohmert, 66, said he was not experiencing symptoms but had notified colleagues with whom he may have come into contact.
“I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, that if I might have put some germs or some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in,” Gohmert said. He added that he has been wearing a mask more during the past two weeks than he has in the past three or four months.
“I can’t help but think that if I hadn’t been wearing a mask so much in the last 10 days or so, I really wonder if I would have gotten it,” Gohmert added. “You know, moving the mask around, getting it just right, we’re bound to put some virus on the mask that I sucked in. That’s most likely what happened.”
Gohmert’s interview followed a day of heavy blowback as the congressman ignored experts’ advice on how to avoid spreading the potentially deadly virus, as he insisted on returning to the Capitol and filmed a new video questioning the effectiveness of masks.