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Rep. Louie Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19

Louie Gohmert
Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Gohmert has been seen flouting safety guidelines without a mask at the U.S. Capitol and in hearing rooms but says he has worn a mask recently. (Chip Somodevilla/UPI pool photo)

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Louie Gohmert, the Republican congressman from Texas who has frequently voiced opposition to wearing a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a video message published on Facebook, Gohmert announced that while asymptomatic he has contracted the coronavirus.

“The reports of my demise are a great deal premature,” he said.

“I don’t have symptoms that are listed as part of COVID-19, but apparently I have the Wuhan virus,” he said, calling the coronavirus by a controversial term that references the central Chinese city where it was first discovered.

Gohmert said he was tested before entering the White House on Wednesday morning when he was scheduled to travel with President Donald Trump to Texas.

The Texas politician has said he does not wear a mask and has been frequently seen around the Capitol without one, The Washington Post and Politico reported.

In June, he told CNN that he doesn’t have to wear a mask because he doesn’t have the disease.

“I don’t have the coronavirus, turns out as of yesterday I’ve never had it. But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” he said.

In May, during a meeting of Republican members of Congress and the president, Gohmert told reporters that they had all been tested so the only reason they would need to wear a mask is to protect them from the media.

“And we’re not scared of you,” he said. “So, that’s why we can be here like this. ”

On Monday, Gohmert had voted on a revised coronavirus relief bill in Congress and was present during Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing.

Kerri Kupec, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Attorney General William Barr, who was at the hearing with Gohmert, will be tested for the virus.

After it was learned that Gohmert had tested positive, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that effective Thursday at 8 a.m., all House members and aides must wear masks on the floor.

“Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House,” she said.

Reporting by Darryl Coote

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