During a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., scolded Republican lawmakers in attendance who were not wearing masks.
Nadler called out several non-mask-wearing members by name, including Reps. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the committee; Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who is on the committee; and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who is not.
“I would remind all members that guidance from the Office of [the] Attending [Physician] states that face coverings are required for all meetings in enclosed space such as committee hearings except when you’re recognized to speak,” Nadler said. “And that means you, Jim, and Marjorie and Matt and a lot of other people I can’t recognize because of distance. So, please, everyone, observe that rule.”
The hearing featured testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland, part of the committee’s oversight of the Justice Department.
Gaetz was seated in the audience next to Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who was also maskless. Gaetz and Boebert put masks on after Nadler’s directive. Greene, who has repeatedly objected to the chamber’s mask policy, did not.
Earlier this year, the House voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments after Republican leadership declined to punish the freshman congresswoman’s embrace of bizarre conspiracy theories and reported endorsement of violence against Democrats.
Later in the hearing, Nadler again raised the mask-wearing policy, this time calling out Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who is also not on the committee.
“I note that some members are still not wearing masks,” Nadler said. “The requirement is that members wear their masks at all times when they are not speaking. I will take members in compliance with this rule into consideration when they seek recognition. I see Mr. Roy, for example.”
In July, the House of Representatives reimposed a mask mandate amid growing fears about the coronavirus Delta variant. Under House rules, any lawmaker who does not wear a mask in specified spaces in the Capitol complex can be fined $500 or more. The Senate encourages its members to wear masks indoors but does not require them to do so.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reinstituted the mandate, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted that it was “not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.”
Asked by reporters about McCarthy’s assertion that the return of the mandate was not “based on science,” Pelosi said, “He’s such a moron.”
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