WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has encountered intense criticism this week after she was seen on video attending a ceremony at the White House without a mask – in a crowded room full of people not wearing them – while still maintaining rules that see individuals in the Chamber of Congress fined for doing the same exact thing, reports say.
On Thursday, Pelosi was filmed in the East Room of the White House hugging and speaking with numerous unmasked guests who were there to witness President Joe Biden sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addressing the rising rate of crimes being committed against Asian-Americans.
Pelosi has received strong ire from Republicans for her mask mandate that members of Congress are expected to follow when in the House chamber – with a first-time offense netting the violator a $500 fine and a second offense jumping to $2,500 – despite recently-revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that stated that fully-vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most situations.
Earlier this week, several GOP lawmakers staged a protest on the House floor by going maskless, with many of them incurring $500 fines; one of them, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), tweeted his displeasure at Pelosi’s “hypocritical” behavior.
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“Meanwhile, @SpeakerPelosi fined me and @RepMTG and @RepBrianMast and other republicans $500 for not wearing a mask in the House chamber this week. Hypocrite!” he said.
“Despite fining House members who don’t wear masks, Nancy Pelosi wears no mask while walking through a maskless crowd,” the official Republican National Committee (RNC) Research account tweeted.
Pelosi stated at her weekly press conference Thursday before the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act signing that her reasoning for the mandate was because only 1 in 4 House members have received the COVID-19 vaccine, despite its common availability.
“We have to wait for them to be vaccinated, because they are selfishly a dangerment [sic] to other people, including staff people here,” she said.
However, the CDC’s new guidelines about mask-wearing no longer being needed for inoculated individuals have taken into consideration that currently only 38 percent of the U.S. population has been fully-vaccinated thus far.