House Speaker Admonishes Republicans Who Refuse Vaccines: ‘Do You Want Them Breathing in Your Face?’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday morning ripped into Republican lawmakers who refuse to wear masks while on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“We have to wait for them to be vaccinated because they are selfishly an endangerment to other people include staff people here. So while we’re all hopeful, and I join the president in being hopeful that we can reach a place where it is safe for people to be” maskless at work, said Pelosi, whose patience with members of Congress such as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has clearly run out.
“What is this, the honor system? The honor system as to whether somebody’s been vaccinated? Do you want them breathing in your face on the strength of their honor?” Pelosi quipped, referring to conservatives who believe they are immune to the rules and continue to lie to the American people about the dangers of COVID-19 and the efficacy of vaccines.
“So let’s just see. Let’s just see. This is about science and governance and science and governance,” the Speaker continued. “We have a responsibility to make sure of that the House of Representatives chamber is not a petri dish because of the selfishness of some not to be vaccinated or to wear a mask because it requires us to wear masks.”
Forbes noted on Wednesday that House Republicans are lagging far behind their Democratic counterparts when it comes to getting inoculated against the coronavirus:
75%. That’s the share of House members who were vaccinated as of the end of April, Pelosi said at the time. According to a CNN survey, all Democrats in both chambers have publicly disclosed they are vaccinated while less than half of House Republicans have done the same.
Pelosi cautiously predicted that “we could come to a place where we say if you don’t want to wear a mask and you don’t want to – if you’re not vaccinated, don’t even come to the floor – we have facilities up above in the gallery where people can come to vote,” stressing that House leadership “doesn’t want to deter anybody’s ability to exercise their constitutional duties. We have that responsibility as well. So we’re trying to balance everybody being able to exercise their – his or her – constitutional duties as well as protect the staff and the other members.”
Pelosi then issued a reminder that the congressional mask mandate is not personal.
“Now, I know a lot of things as Speaker of the House. I know a lot of things, and I know a lot about people’s predispositions and the rest because they share them with me and I have to make judgements based on what the vulnerabilities are of our members as well. But it’s not, shall we say, a subjective decision,” she said. “The attending physician has said until everybody’s vaccinated, we wear masks.”
Speaker Pelosi says she won’t let Congress become “a Petri dish because of the selfishness of some not to be vaccinated.” Masks remain mandatory until the House physician says otherwise. pic.twitter.com/yYhK6GQ4hh
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) May 20, 2021