Pelosi orders Capitol police to arrest staff and visitors who refuse to wear masks; Congresswoman protests

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)


Chris Trainor

The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, of South Carolina’s First Congressional District, accused Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of an “insane power grab” after the House reinstated a mask mandate amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Madam Speaker, your insane power grab is showing,” Mace tweeted on Thursday morning. “Today I’m not wearing a mask outside of the chamber b/c I follow science — not Pelosi. Come and get me.”

The tweet was accompanied by a video of an unmasked Mace walking through what she described as the “tunnels” on Thursday morning, presumably in the U.S. Capitol complex.

“I’m socially distanced from anybody else,” Mace said. “I’ve had COVID. I’ve had two vaccinations. I’m washing my hands. I’m even wearing my mask inside the (House) chamber. But I’m not going to wear it anywhere else. So Madam Speaker, come and get me.”

The tweet and video from Mace came after Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the top doctor in Congress, recommended a return to masks in the Capitol. As reported by The New York Times, Pelosi made the mandate official on the House floor.

The mask debate in Congress is being rekindled just as the Centers for Disease Control has updated its mask guidance, saying that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas where transmission of COVID-19 is high. The CDC also has recommended that students and teachers wear masks at school, regardless of vaccination status. The new recommendations come as the U.S. has seen rising coronavirus rates with the wide spread of the delta variant of the virus.

Mace, who was elected to the U.S. House in 2020, had COVID in June 2020, and was vaccinated earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, of South Carolina’s Fifth District, also has been talking about the mask rules.

” Dems are weak on crime all across America,” Norman tweeted. “But don’t worry, if my fully vaccinated staff is caught mask-less, that’s an arrestable offence in the Dem-controlled House.”

Norman was one of three House Republicans who lost appeals over $500 mask fines earlier this summer.

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