Attorney General William Barr was to be tested for COVID-19 on July 29 after coming in contact with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who tested positive for the CCP virus, Justice Department (DOJ) spokesperson Kerri Kupec told reporters.
Barr had been in close contact with Gohmert on July 28, during a visit to Congress to testify for hours before the House Judiciary Committee. At one point, the two men were seen walking in close proximity prior to entering the hearing room, according to a video posted by a reporter. Neither was wearing a mask at that time.
Gohmert, 66, reportedly tested positive at a pre-screening procedure at the White House, multiple media outlets have reported, citing people familiar with the situation. He was scheduled to fly to Texas with President Donald Trump.
Gohmert’s office and the Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The Texas Republican appears to be the 10th member of Congress to test positive for or presumed to be positive for the virus.
The news of Gohmert’s positive test is likely to prompt concerns for lawmakers in Washington.
Gohmert said last month that he wasn’t wearing a mask because he regularly gets tested for the virus.
“I don’t have the coronavirus, turns out as of yesterday, I’ve never had it,” Gohmert told CNN. “But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a Twitter post on July 29 that he wishes Gohmert “a full & speedy recovery.”
“When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk. I’ve regularly instructed all Members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson by all my colleagues,” Nadler wrote.
During the July 28 hearing, Nadler warned several Republican committee members—Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Mike Johnson (R-La.)—about the need to wear masks. Gohmert was not among those who was scolded.
“I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs, and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee,” Nadler said during the hearing. “To stop violating the safety of the members of the committee. To stop holding themselves out as not caring by refusing to wear their masks.”
One of the members was heard asking whether it was “permissible to drink a sip of coffee,” to which Nadler replied, “it is not permissible.”
Throughout the hearing, most members were seen wearing masks, except for during their turn to speak. Meanwhile, some members attended the hearing remotely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who they do not live with, in order to prevent the spread of the virus.