House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a “moron” over his objection to the return of a mask mandate on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi was asked by reporters about the backlash from some Republicans to the requirement that all lawmakers and staff members must once again wear masks inside the Capitol amid growing fears about the spread of the Delta variant, which has caused coronavirus cases to spike across the country.
“That’s the purview of the Capitol physician. I have nothing to say about that except we honor it,” Pelosi said, holding up her mask.
The House speaker was then asked about McCarthy’s assertion that the return of the mandate was “not based on science.”
“He’s such a moron,” Pelosi said as she climbed into an SUV.
In a memo issued late Tuesday night, Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’s top doctor, announced the change in policy based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that masks should be worn indoors by all Americans — vaccinated or unvaccinated — who are in areas with high COVID transmission rates.
“For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,” Monahan wrote in the memo.
McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, voiced his objection in a tweet
“Make no mistake,” McCarthy tweeted, “the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.”
Asked at her weekly press conference about her disparaging characterization of McCarthy on Capitol Hill, Pelosi did not repeat it.
“I said earlier in my comments, science, science, science and science,” Pelosi said. “On almost every subject you can name, science is the answer, whether it’s the climate crisis, whether it’s a health crisis, whether it’s our preeminence in the world of technology, science, science, science, science. To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think, is not wise, and that was my comment.”
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