Pelosi removes mask for Jake Ellzey swearing-in photo, defies own rules

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Pelosi removes mask for Jake Ellzey swearing-in photo, defies own rules

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to defy her own mask requirement Friday when she removed her face covering for a photo with a newly sworn-in congressman.

After Pelosi administered the oath to Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), the Speaker could be heard asking: “Can we take off our masks just for the photo?,” apparently repeating a question from a photographer. Pelosi then whipped off her mask, leading Ellzey, his wife and their two children to follow suit.

The photo-op came after Capitol Attending Physician Dr. Brian Monahan on Tuesday announced that masks were once again required in interior spaces of “all House Office Buildings, the Hall of the House, and House Committee Meetings” when more than one individual is present.

The new guidance came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the re-imposition of mask mandates in areas with “substantial” or “high” coronavirus transmission.

The renewed House mask mandate has led to an uproar among Republicans, some of whom met with Monahan Wednesday after the mandate was put back. At that meeting, Monahan disclosed that Pelosi reviewed the guidance before it was publicly announced, a senior GOP aide told the Post.

The Speaker has stood firm on the requirement, calling House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a “moron” Wednesday after he expressed opposition to it. McCarthy responded by taking to the House floor to accuse Pelosi of “hypocrisy” in a speech that referenced her trip to a closed San Francisco salon to get her hair done last summer.

Kevin McCarthy
Pelosi had recently criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for his opposition to the new mask rules.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The anger reached a new level Thursday after Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) posted a picture of a law enforcement bulletin that stated: “If a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask after a request is made to do so, the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to the House Office Buildings or House-side of the U.S. Capitol. Any person who fails to either comply or leave the premises after being asked to do so would be subject to an arrest for Unlawful Entry.”

Capitol Police sought to defuse the situation by saying on Twitter that there was “no reason it should ever come to someone being arrested. Anyone who does not follow the rules will be asked to wear a mask or leave the premises.”

Dozens of other House Republicans staged their own protest Thursday by marching over to the Senate, which does not have a mask requirement, to hear speeches by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas blasting the mandate.

“I’m standing with my staff and telling my staff to do what is in their best interests and I’ll back them up,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News Friday. “If Nancy Pelosi wants to come after my staff she will have to come through me.

Representative Kat Cammack, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Rep. Kat Cammack posted a picture on Twitter of the bulletin about the rules on masking at the Capitol.
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This is not the way we conduct business here. We can agree to disagree. This is the line in the sand,” Roy added. “We’re a free country and I am going to act like it and will defend the freedom of Americans and my staff to do what is in their interest, not the will of Nancy Pelosi.”

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