Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and her husband left the location they were in for a secure room where members and some staffers were waiting out the siege on the Capitol last week, she said.
But when they got there, the room was overcrowded, and a group of maskless GOP lawmakers were huddled together in one part of the room.
Before long, Pressley said she decided it wasn’t worth trading one threat for another, and she and her husband chose to return to the location that wouldn’t provide them the same protection from violence but wasn’t a coronavirus risk.
And yet, Pressley revealed Thursday, her husband, Conan Harris, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Pressley herself has tested negative, she said in a statement.
Calling her GOP colleagues “callous,” Pressley said their “arrogant disregard for the lives of others is infuriating, but not surprising and we are seeing the consequences of it daily, as several of my colleagues — and now my husband — test positive for covid-19.”
Harris is the fourth known person who spent time in the lockdown room to have contracted the virus.
In the secure room last week, Pressley checked on friends but grew increasingly uncomfortable with the growing congregation of maskless GOP colleagues.
“This is crazy,” Pressley thought, according to a senior Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe what transpired in the room. “We’re not going to survive a terrorist attack to be exposed to a deadly virus.” It felt too risky to stay, so the congresswoman left the police-protected space for a less secure room where she wouldn’t be potentially exposed to the coronavirus.
Apart from Pressley’s husband, three Democratic lawmakers in that room, including a 75-year-old cancer survivor, have tested positive for the coronavirus, and Democrats are enraged at the Republicans who they say got their colleagues sick.
“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 Tuesday. “Furious that more of my colleagues by the day are testing positive.”
Throughout the day, House Democrats expressed unbridled outrage about the maskless lawmakers, adding to the already raw anger they have toward many of those same Republicans who they see as contributing to the incitement of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.