WATCH LIVE: House Judiciary Members Ordered To Wear Masks For Oversight Hearing (Some Still Don’t)
On Wednesday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee met to discuss the politicization of the Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr. One of the first major developments to come out of the day’s proceedings was that committee members were directed to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, and wear masks during the hearing.
Mask-wearing itself has become significantly politicized during this pandemic, with Donald Trump even telling the Wall Street Journal that he believes some people wear masks to signify disapproval of him as president.
However earlier this month, Roll Call reported that congressional physician Brian Monahan had issued guidance that members should wear masks while on the House floor, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked that this be enforced as a rule of decorum. Still, legislators have shown some of the same partisan feelings about the pandemic and masking that are seen in the general population, and some members of the Judiciary Committee still decline to wear masks.
Hence, Jerry Nadler’s order that members should wear masks during the proceedings wasn’t received equally by all committee members. Courthouse News reporter Tim Ryan said he spotted three Republican members of the committee who were not wearing face coverings as the hearing began. Nadler’s issuance of the mask directive can be seen about 25 minutes into the live video from NBC above, as the proceedings begin.
Nadler has started the hearing. Says he expects members to wear a mask during the hearing.
Currently three Republican members, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert and Mike Johnson, are not wearing masks. It looks like Steve Chabot is wearing a mask.
— Tim Ryan (@ByTimRyan) June 24, 2020
Donald Trump has refused to wear masks in several circumstances, including during a trip to a factory making swabs — the products made during his visit all had to be discarded. Trump has rarely been seen in public with a mask, and has derided Joe Biden, his presumptive opponent in the 2020 Presidential race, for wearing one.