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GOP congressman suing Pelosi over mask mandate contracts coronavirus

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 8/5/2021 Amy B Wang
a man wearing a suit and tie: Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, July 29, 2021, to complain about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and masking policies. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) © Andrew Harnik/AP Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, July 29, 2021, to complain about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and masking policies. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), one of three Republican members of Congress who last week filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House mask mandate, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he said in a statement Thursday.

“After experiencing minor symptoms this morning, I sought a covid-19 test and was just informed the test results were positive,” Norman tweeted Thursday afternoon. “Thankfully, I have been fully vaccinated and my symptoms remain mild.”

Norman added that he would be in quarantine for the next 10 days and work virtually “to every extent possible.”

A week ago, Norman — with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) — filed a lawsuit against Pelosi (D-Calif.) arguing that fines they had incurred for not wearing masks on the House floor were unconstitutional. The three were each fined $500 in May for mask violations.

They argued that, at the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had changed its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people most likely did not have to wear masks. Pelosi, however, kept in place the mask mandate on the House floor, sparking a backlash among House Republicans, who accused Pelosi of wanting simply to “control” the chamber.

With the more contagious delta variant driving a surge in coronavirus infections across the country, Pelosi last week reimposed a mask requirement in the House, leading again to protests by House GOP members.


Video: Pelosi Announces Return Of Mask Mandate In The House (Newsweek)

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“Government-imposed mask mandates represent a harmful combination of virtue signaling and unjustified fear,” Norman tweeted last week.

Representatives for Norman’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who announced at the beginning of the week that he had also tested positive for the coronavirus, wished Norman well on Thursday.

“This too shall pass,” Graham tweeted to Norman. “I’m confident the vaccine helped us both! Know you will be back at it soon!”

Graham was the first known senator with what is called a breakthrough infection of the coronavirus. Last month, three Democratic members of the Texas House who fled to Washington to prevent voting restrictions from being passed in their state also tested positive for the coronavirus, despite all being fully vaccinated.

Still, breakthrough infections remain rare. Public health experts say that vaccination remains the best way of protecting oneself and others from contracting or spreading the coronavirus and that vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness or death even if a breakthrough infection occurs.

Read more:

Lindsey Graham tests positive for coronavirus after meeting senators without masks

How Provincetown, Mass., stress-tested the coronavirus vaccine with summer partying and delta

White House pushes student vaccinations as hospital admissions, deaths rise about 40 percent in a week

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