The House Judiciary Committee’s Wednesday meeting was meant for the markup of legislation and amendments, but one Kentucky congressman took the opportunity to criticize wearing “stupid masks” while conducting House business.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican representing northern Kentucky, slammed mask-wearing Wednesday morning by attempting to submit for the record an article from ABC which stated that fully-vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks or social distancing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Not everyone attending Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting was fully vaccinated, which Massie acknowledged despite still arguing against wearing masks.
“What is the message that we’re trying to send to the American people by wearing these stupid masks? Because all of Congress, by the way, cut line (to get vaccinated),” Massie said. “Not everyone in here is vaccinated, it’s true.”
Rep. Jarrold Nadler, a Democrat representing New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, cut Massie off because he wasn’t speaking on the bill at hand. The committee had been discussing the NO BAN Act, an act intended to limit a president’s ability to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States.
Massie and Nadler proceeded to exchange words about the purpose of the masks.
“I am asking why we have to wear a mask when the CDC says these are not necessary,” Massie said.
“Because everybody in this room is not vaccinated, as you well know,” Nadler responded.
Committee leaders attempted to move on but Massie continued. He said there was peer-reviewed science that showed natural immunity from recovering from COVID-19 is as strong “or more robust” than immunity provided by the vaccine. Massie said everyone in the room Wednesday had either been vaccinated or previously infected.
“These are ridiculous theater,” Massie said, pointing to his mask while Nadler continued trying to get the committee back on topic. “And here’s why it’s important: because people will not get vaccinated if they believe they’re going to have to wear the mask even after you’re vaccinated.”
Massie also complained about social distancing in House meetings despite sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on airplanes while flying to and from Washington, D.C.
Massie previously said he had been infected with COVID-19 and tested positive for the antibodies.
Medical experts have concluded that recovering from COVID-19 gives someone natural immunity. But it’s unclear how long that immunity lasts. And the CDC’s guidance on what vaccinated people can do, which Massie made mention of during his remarks, doesn’t recommend the same activities for people who are unvaccinated but recovered from an infection.
Massie has been critical of health experts and mask-wearing guidance for months. He recently signed onto the “Fire Fauci Act,” a bill which would eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s salary. Fauci is the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
The bill was written and introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a rookie Republican congresswoman from Georgia who’s widely considered to be a far-right conspiracy theorist. She has previously promoted QAnon conspiracies and other baseless theories on social media, according to the New York Times.
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