The lockdown room was a safe space for lawmakers under siege. Now some say maskless Republicans made it a coronavirus hot spot.

www.washingtonpost.com
5 min read
fairly easy
Three Democratic lawmakers who sought shelter in the room have tested positive.
One Democrat, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), grew so angry that she left the secure room, concluding, according to an aide, that "we're not going to survive a terrorist attack to be exposed to a deadly virus."

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But many stayed behind — and some now think they were exposed. Nearly a week after the riot, three Democratic lawmakers who had sheltered in that room, including Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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The results added fuel to an already burning fire of rage that has enveloped Capitol Hill since last week's violence, as Democrats already blaming many of their GOP counterparts for inciting the mob that endangered their lives now are fingering them for selfish behavior that has jeopardized their health.

The outbreak — dubbed a "superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack" by Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, one of the Democratic lawmakers who tested positive — led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to impose stiff fines on members who don't wear masks.

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"The second I realized our 'safe room' from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited," Pressley tweeted on Tuesday. "Furious that more of my colleagues by the day are testing positive."

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Several Republican lawmakers seen in a video refusing masks from a Democratic congresswoman did not respond to requests for comment, including Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Doug LaMalfa (Calif.) and Scott Perry (Pa.).

Freshman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who was also in that group, called it "absurd" to blame them and shifted it to Pelosi.

"It is absolutely ridiculous and insane to blame those of us who did not have COVID or symptoms," she said in an email. "The blame lies squarely on Nancy Pelosi and the positive COVID members bringing…
Colby Itkowitz
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