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Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who during the pandemic has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public, tested positive for the coronavirus illness.
His positive test was caught during a routine screening at the White House, Gohmert said. He was slated to attend a trip to West Texas with President Trump.
“Before you go anywhere with the president or have a meeting with the president we are always tested, and they have a real quick test and the quick test was positive,” Gohmert said in an interview with local North Texas television affiliate, KETK.
Gohmert confirmed the news from his Capitol Hill office, raising further concerns that he returned there infected from the illness as both chambers of Congress are in session. Gohmert claimed he would later quarantine from home for ten days, per advice from the office of the attending physician to Congress, Dr. Brian Monahan.
The news sent shockwaves through the Capitol Wednesday.
“I can guarantee Gohmert has heard from the medical community, he’s talked to Dr. Monahan or others, who said immediately quarantine yourself,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a call with reporters. “He did not do that, he put others at risk.”
Politico first reported the development earlier on Wednesday. Several aides for the House Judiciary Committee confirmed the report, saying they were informed and working with the Attending Physician on next steps.
Gohmert had participated in Tuesday’s high-profile House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General William Barr, and was seen without a mask near Barr and others. A Justice Department spokeswoman said Barr will be tested for the illness on Wednesday.
“Too many Republicans have continued to act extraordinarily irresponsibly, including Louie Gohmert. Louie Gohmert ought to quarantine himself right now,” Hoyer said.
In March, Gohmert revealed he was one of several Republicans potentially exposed to the illness at the Conservative Political Action Conference. While many of his colleagues quarantined, he refused.
NPR’s Carrie Johnson contributed to this report.