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GOP Lawmakers Are Self-Quarantining After Coronavirus Exposure

Self-quarantining and self-owning.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) listens during a committee hearing

(Drew Angerer/GettyImages)

For weeks, Donald Trump’s approach to the coronavirus has been to downplay the scope of the epidemic while he and his surrogates mock those expressing concern.

That’s Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz showing off his lack of tact and humor by wearing a full-on gas mask to vote on Congress’ coronavirus funding bill.

Gaetz was criticized by a number of his colleagues for showing such insensitivity—a point that was really driven home when just two days later, two of Gaetz’s own constituents in Florida died after contracting the virus.

Soon after, Gaetz himself announced that he was entering into self-quarantine.

If you think maybe Gaetz regrets making such an insensitive joke out of the virus now that he’s finding himself directly affected, nope! Instead, he’s trying to rewrite his own history, insisting that the gas mask was a stunt not meant to mock, but to RaIsE aWaReNeSs.

That’s not exactly believable. To start, he wore a freaking gas mask of the House floor. Also, while he did vote to approve the spending bill, he took to Twitter to let everyone know he “didn’t feel good” about it. That’s probably not the way you’d talk about something you feel gas-mask-strongly about.

Gaetz isn’t the only member of Congress to enter into self-quarantine after experiencing exposure to the virus. The Florida lawmaker reportedly came into contact with a person who had tested positive for the virus at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. As if that event weren’t already toxic enough.

So far, five GOP lawmakers have announced that they were entering into self-quarantine after coming into contact with the virus at CPAC.

In addition to Gaetz, Ted Cruz, Doug Collins, Paul A. Gosar (of “I’d rather die gloriously in battle” fame), and Donald Trump’s brand new chief of staff Mark Meadows are all in quarantine after CPAC.

One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Julia Brownley of California, has also announced she is “working remotely” after meeting with someone in Washington last week who has tested positive for the virus.

While these lawmakers are all doing the responsible thing by isolating themselves rather than risk spreading the virus, it’s hard not to think about how impossible this sort of self-isolation would be for most of their constituents. Some companies are increasing their employees’ access to sick days or ability to work remotely due to coronavirus concerns, but the ability to enter into a two-week self-quarantine is a financial privilege, and not one available to most people.

But again, these lawmakers are doing the right thing. Unlike Donald Trump, who seems totally unphased by the spreading infection, despite having met with four of the five Republicans since their exposure at CPAC. Trump is a known germaphobe but Gaetz says Trump was “not hyper cautious about being in the same space” as him, even knowing of the lawmaker’s exposure.


And then this happened:

And Ben Carson, who, as our Housing and Urban Development Secretary has no business giving this kind of advice, is encouraging people to still attend Trump’s rallies because that’s what’s really important here.

Good to see everyone’s taking this so seriously.

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.