Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who announced Tuesday morning that she was diagnosed with the coronavirus and slammed Republicans who refused to wear masks as lawmakers were sheltering from the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol, was filmed not wearing a mask at one point while lawmakers hid during the chaos.
“I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” she said.
Jayapal, D-Wash., is one of the multiple members of Congress who has recently tested positive after sheltering with many lawmakers of both parties during the attack. Punchbowl News last week published a video showing several GOP lawmakers apparently declining to wear masks as members of Congress hid from the mob. The situation prompted Brian Monahan, the House attending physician, to recommend that lawmakers get tested for the virus.
But video published by CBS News showed Jayapal hiding in the House gallery along with other lawmakers while herself not wearing a mask for at least the two-minute duration of the video. Jayapal was holding an “escape hood” — essentially a gas mask — throughout the video as well, though she did not put it on during the video.
ILLINOIS DEMOCRAT THE THIRD LAWMAKER TO TEST POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS SINCE SHELTERING AT CAPITOL
“You see that was a gas mask that some people actually put their gas masks on immediately, as they were really afraid for what was happening,” Jayapal said in an interview with the Washington Post, describing the chaos as she and others were stranded on the gallery level.
It is not clear when or whether Jayapal eventually put on the escape hood. It’s also not clear how long she went without wearing some kind of face-covering beyond the two-minute CBS video.
Jayapal’s office did not immediately return a request for comment for this story.
Despite the spate of new cases, it’s not clear that any of the Republicans who were not wearing a mask were positive for the virus at the time of the attack on the Capitol. The positive tests also follow the construction of plexiglass barriers like in a hockey rink to allow members to vote in the House speaker election on Jan. 3.
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., who only six days before tested positive for the coronavirus but said her quarantine was over and she was medically cleared to travel, voted in-person for House speaker on Jan. 3. Among those who voted from the plexiglass enclosure was Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. The enclosure was built because House proxy voting rules from 2020 expired at the start of the new Congress, so lawmakers needed to vote for House speaker in person.
But there were at least two other Democrats who were in the room with the maskless Republicans who tested positive for the coronavirus, indicating a possible, though not definitive, connection.
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Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said she tested positive and was experiencing mild symptoms on Monday. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., also announced a positive test Tuesday.
“Last Wednesday, after narrowly escaping a violent mob incited by the President of the United States to attack the Capitol and its occupants, I was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress,” Schneider said. “Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask, as demonstrated in the video from Punchbowl News, even when politely asked by their colleagues.”
Schnieder added: “Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.