Thursday, July 29, 2021

Republicans Reject Pelosi's Mask Mandate

WaPo  |  “We always just follow the guidance of the Capitol physician. There is no discussion about should we do it, should we not for one reason or another,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. “It’s the decision of the Capitol physician, who is following the guidance of the CDC about the masks.”

McCarthy (R-Calif.) joined Republicans in deriding the new mask mandate despite concerns from public health officials that the delta variant poses a renewed threat to the public, particularly because of the refusal of many people in areas represented by Republicans to get vaccinated.

“Make no mistake — The threat of bringing masks back is 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,” McCarthy tweeted shortly after Monahan sent his email Tuesday night.

Asked Wednesday morning by NBC News about McCarthy’s comment, Pelosi responded: “He’s such a moron.”

 

She declined to repeat that barbed criticism later at a news conference but stood by her assessment of the House minority leader’s comments.

“To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think is not wise,” she said. “And that was my comment. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

McCarthy said he wanted more answers from Pelosi about the guidance.

“Well, she’s so brilliant. Can she tell me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate?” McCarthy asked Wednesday, listing several other questions he had about the new CDC guidance. “So a lot of questions. If she knows so much science, explain to me where the science changes in the rotunda.”

Later in the day, Republicans met with Monahan to voice their concerns about his decision. In the meeting, which lasted about one hour, numerous members asked the Capitol physician why he would institute a mandate if D.C. has a lower transmission rate than most cities. Monahan responded that the Capitol complex should be seen as a different entity given how many people who travel to and from different parts of the country interact with one another, according to two Republican aides in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting.

Republicans left the meeting saying they were unconvinced by Monahan’s arguments for wearing a mask. Many cited a claim made by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) that the CDC based its new guidance on a study based in India that failed a peer-review process. But the CDC has not yet released the specific data it relied on to come to its decision, making it unclear how Republicans would know what data was used for the guidance or why they expressed certitude that the decision was based on a study related to India.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said the agency reviewed outbreak investigations in the United States as part of its evaluation.

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