As anticipated, Rep. Nancy Pelosi was narrowly elected speaker of the 117th Congress on Sunday, winning the gavel again by a slim margin of just 7 votes in a 216-209 vote.
With members required to be present to vote, there were concerns about whether COVID-19 may be a factor in the selection of a new speaker, given that Pelosi has the smallest majority in recent history and could not afford to lose votes from members afflicted with the Chinese plague.
But the California Democrat ensured this would not be a problem, as she allowed a member who had just tested positive for the coronavirus, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., to appear and cast a vote in her favor.
Considering that we are talking about Nancy Pelosi, who is a Democrat, this can be done with little media fanfare.
Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), who tested positive for coronavirus on Dec. 28th, just voted from the House floor and gave Jim Langevin an elbow bump.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 3, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Pelosi’s decision was “wrong,” The Hill reported.
“I couldn’t imagine that [Pelosi] would bring somebody in here that could cause people problems,” McCarthy said.
Pelosi reportedly went the extra mile to ensure that quarantined members could vote, setting up a “Popemobile” like plexiglass structure in the House Gallery, according to journalist John Bresnahan.
“Upon the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician and the House Sergeant at Arms, a secure enclosure has been erected in Gallery 4 of the House Chamber to allow members who are in quarantine status to fulfill their Constitutional duties,” Dr. Brian Monahan, Attending Physician of the U.S. Congress, said in a statement.
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said the “only reason this is happening is because Speaker Pelosi needs to be re-elected speaker,” Bresnahan tweeted. “It’s shameful.”
/4 Davis says Monahan won’t tell him who members in quarantine are but says they’ve had negative tests. “It’s horseshit. You can quote me on that.”
— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) January 3, 2021
Which is not to say there weren’t reprimands handed out to some members Sunday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., was reprimanded for taking a selfie on the floor of the House, according to Fox News reporter Chad Pergram.
From colleague Caroline McKee. Pelosi on the flr for new session. Elbow bumping with some mbrs. Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was reminded that there are no photos allowed on the House floor when she took a selfie
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 3, 2021
Greene also drew attention for not wearing a mask, as she and another GOP member were told by House floor staff that they have to put their masks on, according to NBC reporter Jake Sherman.
A “screaming match” broke out on the floor of the House between Democratic and Republican staff, Sherman noted in a tweet — so much for Joe Biden’s call for “unity.”
Now, the Republiacn and Democratic floor staff are in a screaming match on the floor.
So this Congress is going great already
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 3, 2021
Here’s a sampling of online responses to Pelosi allowing Rep. Moore to appear on the House floor while reportedly infected with the coronavirus.
The coronavirus won’t stop Nancy Pelosi’s quest for power.
Democrat Rep. Gwen Moore announced a positive coronavirus test 6 days ago.
She hasn’t been in DC since May & has been voting by proxy.
But because Pelosi wants power, despite being COVID +, Moore is headed back to DC. https://t.co/iHUpfWVnba
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 3, 2021
Pelosi is putting the public’s health at risk to keep herself in power. https://t.co/c3tb8MZE3Q
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) January 3, 2021
— Rep. Bruce Westerman (@RepWesterman) January 3, 2021
A Democrat rep who tested positive for COVID broke quarantine and ignored health guideline because Nancy Pelosi needed her vote for leadership padding. https://t.co/ZrZPzhbCpG
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 3, 2021
Pelosi allowing Dems who JUST tested positive for COVID days ago in to vote (because her Speakership is on the line) is a great reminder that Dems see the virus and virus safety measures as a political tool to weaponize or ignore based on their political needs of the moment. https://t.co/ByYkBz7Atk
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 3, 2021
Moore is lying. If she tested positive 5 days ago and is following CDC protocol, she should be under quarantine for another 5 days. pic.twitter.com/3RFE6VDxT8
— Ana Rosa Quintana (@ana_r_quintana) January 3, 2021
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