Tags: Coronavirus | testing | congress | new york times

NY Times: All Lawmakers Should Be Tested for Coronavirus

rep. raúl grijalva speaks during a news conference at the us capitol in washington
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 03 August 2020 09:35 AM

After Rep. Louie Gohmert announced he was diagnosed with the coronavirus last week, The New York Times had one message for lawmakers: Get tested.

In an opinion piece, The New York Times editorial board called for all members of Congress to get tested for the virus.

While at least 14 lawmakers have said they have had or thought they had the coronavirus, the board writes that “something about the diagnosis of Mr. Gohmert, who has belligerently flouted public health recommendations such as mask wearing and social distancing, prompted a convulsion of rage on Capitol Hill.”

The newspaper calls attention to Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who tested positive not too long after Gohmert and chaired a hearing that Gohmert attended without a mask.

“From maintenance workers to legislative aides, employees came forward with anonymous accounts of how the patchwork of precautions — each lawmaker’s office operates with its own rules — and cavalier behavior by some members was endangering the thousands of people who keep the Capitol complex running,” the editorial board writes.

The board did praise “many lawmakers” for putting mitigation measures like scaled-back office staff, social distancing and masks into place. But it ripped other members of Congress for disregarding these measures “for political reasons” and those who “seem to believe the virus cannot touch them.”

The opinion piece calls out Rep. Clay Higgins who claimed that masks are “part of the dehumanization of the children of God.”

“Elected officials have a particular responsibility both to model responsible behavior during this pandemic and to take extra precautions so they don’t become super spreaders,” the editorial board states. “Put another way, when a lawmaker behaves like a ‘ding dong,’ as one Republican aide said of Mr. Gohmert, he puts everyone at risk.”

The editorial board said it understands Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reasoning for declining rapid-response tests for lawmakers. The Times pens that while the reasoning behind the decision — not wanting to appear to be receiving special treatment — is sound, the lawmaking body is “not an ordinary workplace.”

“Congress members are influential figures, and in this time of crisis they ought to be leading by example. By taking steps to protect themselves, their staff members and their constituents, lawmakers can send a signal about the seriousness of this situation to a confused and weary public,” the editorial states.

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After Rep. Louie Gohmert announced he was diagnosed with the coronavirus last week, The New York Times had one message for lawmakers: Get tested.
testing, congress, new york times
Monday, 03 August 2020 09:35 AM
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