“I Felt Like I Was Going Into A Den Of The Virus” – Michigan GOP Official
“I felt like I was going in to a den of the virus,” says Michigan GOP official Jason Watts when describing what he observed as he entered a Portage, Mich., restaurant on March 31 for a Republican Party district meeting. Watts walked into the restaurant wearing two cloth masks. None of the estimated 70 other attendees were masked.
Within days Watts and another half-dozen attendees tested positive for COVID-19. Today, two weeks after the that meeting Watts remains in the hospital recovering from a serious case of the deadly virus. And he’s angry, because it didn’t have to be that way.
That late March gathering of Michigan’s 6th District Republican Committee was called specifically for the purpose of considering a petition to remove the 44-year-old Watts from his position because he had made comments critical of former president Donald Trump to the New York Times. Watts had told the paper that it is time for the GOP to move on from Trump.
Watts says his in-person attendance at the meeting was mandatory. “I was required to go,” he said. “There was no Zoom option.”
Watts estimates there were six people he knows of who were positive for COVID-19 afterward, though he believes there are others who contracted the virus but want to keep it quiet. He spoke to some of them directly, he said. Some who tested positive later were seated at his table, he said.
Watts believes he contracted the virus at the Portage restaurant. He said he went to only one other restaurant in the two weeks before the meeting. He said he has been careful to avoid exposure to the virus otherwise, only going into convenience stores briefly, for example.
“A mask shouldn’t have a political party,” Watts said. “A vaccine shouldn’t have a political party, but we’ve conjured these things to have these connotations. People are getting sick. And to put these connotations on these things does nobody any good.”