• Gohmert tested positive at a White House screening ahead of a planned trip to Texas with President Trump
  • Pelosi ordered all lawmakers to wear masks on the House floor
  • Nine members of Congress have tested positive for coronavirus

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday demanded rapid testing in Congress for the coronavirus one day after Rep. Louie Gohmert tested positive and suggested he may have caught the virus from wearing a mask on a few occasions.

Gohmert, R-Texas, who an aide said berated staff members for wearing masks, tested positive for the virus during a screening test at the White House. Gohmert had been scheduled to accompany President Trump to Texas.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, McCarthy, R-Calif., said lawmakers should accept an offer from the administration to provide rapid testing in the Capitol.

“The need for testing throughout [the] Capitol Hill campus remains immediate,” McCarthy wrote.

“Unfortunately, our sensible suggestions were ignored, and Congress is still operating without a comprehensive plan for a safe work environment.”

McCarthy accused Democrats of “failing to adequately protect people” and creating “unnecessary risk and confusion for members, staff, press and all employees of the House.”

Nine members of Congress have tested positive for the virus, which has killed more than 150,700 Americans.

Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Wednesday evening all lawmakers would be required to wear face masks on the House floor. The House sergeant-at-arms and top Capitol physician also issued directives. The new rules took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday.

“It’s a sign of respect for the health, safety and well-being of others present in the chamber and in surrounding areas,” Pelosi said of the mandate.

Gohmert, who has been dismissive about the severity of the pandemic and was dubbed “Congressman Covid” by McCarthy, told interviewers Wednesday he “can’t help but wonder” on the few occasions he did wear a mask “if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some … of the virus on the mask and breathed it in.” He said he is asymptomatic.

Politico report Gohmert has berated his staff for wearing masks and ordered all of them to report to work despite his diagnosis.