The brief but tense exchange between senators, which went viral on Twitter in a video viewed more than 1.6 million times by Tuesday morning, marked the latest guerrilla clash between congressional leaders, who often argue about basic coronavirus safety and health measures. Capitol.
On Twitter, Brown said the incident showed no concern about the spread of the virus among GOP senators.
“Once again, I have asked my Republican colleagues to stop endangering all Senate workers ̵
But some Republicans have accused Brown of exaggerating his concerns.
“It’s idiotic. @SherrodBrown is a complete asshole, “Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) wrote in a seminar, claiming that Sullivan was more than 50 feet from Brown. “He wears a mask to speak – when no one is near him – as a show of false virtue.”
Earlier this summer, The Washington Post reported that congressional leaders could not reach an agreement on how to quickly test members, as well as their staff, for the new coronavirus. Congress leaders have not even been able to agree on which type of thermometer to use.
Whether lawmakers should wear a mask, among other coronavirus health and safety guidelines, depends on where they are in the building. Masks are mandatory on the floor of the House, but are recommended only in the Senate.
In March, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Became the first senator to test positive for coronavirus, raising concerns about the safety and health of other senators. Shortly after Paul’s office revealed the senator’s diagnosis, Republican Sensor Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah announced they were in quarantine because they had recently been in contact with him.
Most senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), And staff members have been wearing masks since the Senate returned to the session in May, The Post reported. Brian P. Monahan, the Capitol’s physician, issued a seven-page note in May encouraging senators to apply masks as “a community service to reduce the risk of infection in general.” Those who do not wear a face covering “can follow the instructions for dividing into six feet,” Monahan added.
Although most senators wear their masks when they are on the floor in the Senate, there are exceptions. Paul has repeatedly refused to wear a mask, arguing that he was “immunized” against the virus after contracting it in the spring. There is not enough scientific evidence, experts say, to prove whether someone who became infected with the virus is actually immune to the disease.
In an exchange Monday after Sullivan refused to put on a mask as he spoke, Brown said the incident was proof that “there is little interest in public health” in the Senate.
“We have a majority leader calling on us here to vote for an unqualified nominee and at the same time to vote for judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people who can’t say anything … and exposing all the staff here. “Brown said in the video, ‘The majority leader just doesn’t care.’
Sullivan wore his mask as Brown turned to the floor, but took it off again after Brown had finished postponing the Senate.