Asked to respond to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s rejection of the reimposed mask mandate in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t mince words.
“He’s such a moron,” the California Democrat told reporters after an event on climate legislation Wednesday.
Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, on Tuesday ordered that all lawmakers, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a “well-fitted, medical grade, filtration face mask” in office buildings, on the House floor and during hearings and meetings, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again recommended masks indoors.
Republicans like McCarthy, the House minority leader, have decried Monahan’s decision to reinstate a mask mandate in the chamber.
Pelosi granted McCarthy the title of “moron” after the California Republican tweeted that the mask mandate was not based in science.
“Make no mistake — The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” McCarthy said on Tuesday.
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff subsequently tweeted that he could not verify Pelosi’s exact comments, but added, “I can confirm that the Speaker believes that saying a mask requirement is ‘not a decision based on science’ is moronic.”
“That’s the purview of the Capitol physician, the official capacity, a mandate from him. I have nothing to say about that except we honor it,” Pelosi said Wednesday.
McCarthy responded to Pelosi’s comment, asking why the mandate is only in the House and not in the Senate.
“If she’s so brilliant, can she explain to me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate,” McCarthy told reporters.
The rise of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is proving significantly more transmissible than past strains of the virus, has caused a serious increase in cases across the country, particularly ravaging unvaccinated people.
Already, members of the House of Representatives and their staff — including vaccinated staffers in Pelosi’s office — have caught the strain.
Some Republicans are refusing to comply with the mask mandate. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) refused to wear one on the House floor Wednesday, even after a House floor aide offered her one, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. Boebert staff told reporters that she will not “comply with Speaker Pelosi’s anti-science, totalitarian mask mandate.”
The CDC issued guidance Tuesday recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans return to wearing masks in certain public indoor areas.
Like with past mandates, lawmakers who refuse to wear masks in the House will receive a fine or be denied entry onto the House floor.