‘Texas variant’? Dems who fled state accused of super-spreader event when Pelosi aide gets COVID

Democrats are catching heat after six members of a Texas delegation that fled a Republican-controlled special legislative session last week appear to have brought COVID-19 with them and have allegedly spread it to the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Reports noted that a White House official and a member of Pelosi’s staff have both tested positive for the virus after attending a reception for some 58 Texas state Democrats who abandoned their duties at the capital and boarded chartered jets to D.C. in order to deny state Republicans a quorum. GOP lawmakers were expected to pass a voter integrity bill that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had vowed to sign.

Six of the Texas Democrats have also tested positive for the virus. The Pelosi staffer was in charge of guiding them around the Capitol last week.

Both of the individuals who tested positive are reportedly only suffering from mild symptoms, but “they illustrate how Americans inoculated against the coronavirus can still contract and, potentially, unknowingly transmit the virus — even at the highest levels of the nation’s government,” Axios reported.

“We know that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild,” a White House official told the outlet.

The White House staffer and Pelosi’s aide were at a rooftop reception for the Texas Democrats at the Hotel Eaton last Wednesday night. Axios reported that the White House staffer has not been around President Joe Biden at all, and likewise, Pelosi’s staffer has not been in contact with the Speaker.

“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated White House official tested positive for COVID-19 off campus,” a White House official told Axios.

“In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for a confirmatory PCR test. The White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms,” the official added.

“The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing. This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization. We wish our colleague a speedy recovery,” the official continued.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, also issued a statement. “Yesterday, a fully-vaccinated senior spokesperson in the Speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” Hammill noted.

“The entire press office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test. Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely.”

Critics questioned why Democrats weren’t more upset about the Texas delegation allegedly spreading the virus to compatriots in the nation’s capital.

How many infections qualifies as a #superspreader and at what point do we call this the #TexasVariant? 6 of the democrats who traveled from Texas and 2 of the staff they met in DC are now infected with SARS-CoV2,” Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on Twitter.

Added investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald: “The Texas Democrats who rented a private jet to fly, maskless, to Washington and meet with senior leaders of the US Government while infected with COVID have become a massive super-spreader menace to much of official DC.” 

Jon Dougherty

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