The conservative House Freedom Caucus has elected GOP Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) to be its next leader, elevating the original member and noted ally of former Donald Trump to the group’s top post. The current chairman, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, was term-limited and will serve in the position until January 1, 2022, the caucus said.
Unfortunately, Perry has also tested positive for COVID-19, it was announced Tuesday. Perry is among dozens of House members who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic took hold in the US, with at least 10 members testing positive since early August. Perry’s office said in a statement announcing his diagnosis that the congressman, who has not publicly indicated whether he has been vaccinated against the virus, is experiencing “quite mild” symptoms and he “will continue working while quarantining at home.” Perry wrote in a Facebook post in September: “Folks, if you want the vaccine, by all means, get the vaccine. But if you don’t want the vaccine, you shouldn’t have to worry about being forced or fired.
Perry is another member of Trump’s inner circle who has come under scrutiny for his role in seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and his interactions related to those efforts could be of keen interest to the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
And Scott Perry just tested positive for COVID, according to his office. https://t.co/nCLDY36YE2
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 16, 2021
Perry was among several names in the mix to succeed Biggs. Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, a former military officer, and West Point grad, and Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a businessman and real estate developer, were also known contenders. All three are staunch Trump allies.
Rep. Scott Perry, who filed the objection to Pennsylvania's electors with Sen. Josh Hawley, is the new chair of the House Freedom Caucus: pic.twitter.com/RxHEHZDpTy
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) November 16, 2021
When Republicans held the majority, the group had immense power — and made life hell for GOP leadership — by banding together. The Freedom Caucus was formed in 2015 as an ultraconservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, but later became home to Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress. After being relegated to the minority, however, the band of roughly 40 agitators has seen its power dramatically wane in Congress and has splintered before over how far to push some of its tactics.