Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert tested positive for COVID-19 just one day after he was seen walking behind Attorney General William Barr while not wearing a mask Politico reported. Gohmert reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus before a scheduled visit with Donald Trump on Wednesday. As the outlet noted, the Texas Republican has become well-known for his refusal to wear a mask while working in Washington, D.C.
The report noted that Gohmert is among a group of lawmakers, mostly Republicans, who have refused to wear facial coverings while working in the U.S. Capitol. Gohmert previously said that because he is given tests for the virus, he would not be wearing a mask, adding that he would take precautions if he did get infected.
"[I]f I get it, you'll never see me without a mask," he told CNN in an interview last month, via Politico.
Some pictures have shown the Texas Republican with a bandana around his face, though he has frequently appeared with no kind of covering. Public health experts have said that these coverings are some of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of the virus, which spreads through respiratory droplets.
A number of people close to Trump have had positive tests for the novel coronavirus, including several White House staffers and other lawmakers he has been in close contact with since the start of the outbreak. As The Inquisitr reported, the White House had to close down two food outlets in its cafeteria after a food service worker was found to have COVID-19.
It was not clear yet where Gohmert may have been infected, or if he passed it along to anyone else. As the Politico report noted, video from Monday showed Gohmert walking closely near Barr ahead of the attorney general's appearance before the House's Judiciary Committee. During that hearing, Chairman Jerry Nadler publicly called out some of his GOP colleagues for violating the newly instituted congressional rules requiring all lawmakers to have masks.
Though Nadler did not call out Gohmert in that statement, he did release a statement wishing the GOP representative a "fully and speedy recovery," while noting that the refusal to don facial coverings has created a health hazard.
"When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk," he tweeted. "I've regularly instructed all Members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson by all my colleagues."The Justice Department said on Wednesday that Barr would be tested for the novel coronavirus after having been in contact with Gohmert.