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.

house members ordered to wear masks
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 17: Republican Representative from Ohio and Ranking Member Jim Jordan attends a House Judiciary Committee markup on H.R. 7120 the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” at the US Capitol in on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked global protests and a call for policing reform. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

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.

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.

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