A Democratic congressman has tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to The Hill, Democrat Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva came out swinging at Republicans for not taking the pandemic seriously after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday. A report from the Arizona Republic indicated that Grijalva has so far been asymptomatic.
COVID-19 at the Capitol
While it’s unclear how he was infected, the lawmaker is taking the opportunity to blast his colleagues across the aisle for acting “selfishly.”
“Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families,” he told the Arizona Republic, according to The Hill. “While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously.”
The Democrat went on to applaud House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for requiring all lawmakers to wear masks in the House chamber. According to Fox News, Pelosi issued the rule last week after Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican, tested positive on Wednesday, prompting a flurry of condemnations for his refusal to cover his face.
Grijalva went into isolation and took a test after coming into contact with Gohmert, who was at a hearing that Grijalva chaired on Tuesday, according to the Arizona Republic.
“I’m pleased that [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] has mandated the use of masks at the Capitol to keep members and staff safe from those looking to score quick political points,” Grijalva told the Arizona Republic. “Stopping the spread of a deadly virus should not be a partisan issue.”
“I hope he heals”
Despite these appeals to bipartisan comity, finding common ground has been easier said than done. As The Hill reported separately, Democrats chastised Republican lawmakers for not wearing masks at committee hearings last week in just the latest sign of how partisan the issue has become.
But while Democrats have routinely accused Republicans of endangering the public, many Republicans argue that the risk of the virus has been overstated and that Democrats are purposefully playing up the fear to hurt Donald Trump politically.
Despite these divisions, Arizona Republican Andy Biggs wished all the best to Grijalva, even as he objected to his attacks. “I hope he heals quickly and that he doesn’t go through a great deal of discomfort and some of the seriousness that can come with this virus,” Biggs told Fox News.
He went on: “I’ll tell you, there’s nobody in the capital that has taken this virus for granted or a lackadaisically.”
In the meantime, Grijalva says that he’s doing fine. “I currently have no symptoms, feel fine, and hope to make a quick and speedy recovery,” he told the Arizona Republic.