When the U.S. House passed an emergency $8.3 billion spending bill to battle the coronavirus epidemic last week, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona questioned the tremendous cost. But Gosar announced last night that he and his staff are going into self-quarantine after it was revealed that Gosar recently spent an extended period of time at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with someone who’s now hospitalized with COVID-19.
“I am not currently experiencing any symptoms, nor is any member of my staff. However, in order to prevent any potential transmission, I will remain at my home in Arizona until the conclusion of the 14 day period following my interaction with this individual,” Gosar said in a statement posted to his website, noting that he shook hands with the unnamed coronavirus patient “several times.”
“Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, I am closing my office in Washington, D.C. for the week and my team will follow the previously approved Tele-commute plan,” Gosar continued.
At least 564 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday morning, up significantly from just 161 cases reported by the CDC last Thursday. At least 22 Americans have died, the vast majority of those in the state of Washington. Sixteen of the 22 deaths in the U.S. have been connected to one nursing home.
Rep. Gosar previously mocked the coronavirus spending package passed last week by the Democratic-controlled House, implying that the money was unnecessary with so few people sick in the U.S.
“So the house just passed additional $7,700,000,000 ($7.7 billion) for 80 cases of US corona virus [sic] under review. That’s $9,625,000 per patient,” Rep. Gosar tweeted on March 4.
Gosar, a dentist by trade who was first elected to Congress in 2010 on the Tea Party wave, then implied that the CDC had all the money it needed, something that’s obviously not true.
“We already passed $12 billion for CDC in 2018, billions more for 2019,” Gosar tweeted. “That money was to address infectious disease rapid response.”
The Trump regime has repeatedly slashed funding for the CDC over the past three years, and the public health agency badly botched the rollout of coronavirus tests, leaving the U.S. weeks behind other nations in its ability to test at the local level. Most states had conducted fewer than 50 tests each as of Friday, meaning that perhaps 2,000 people have been tested nationwide. Countries like South Korea and Italy have conducted tens of thousands of tests.
Gosar wasn’t the only attendee of CPAC to announce they’d be staying at home in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who also shook a lot of hands at CPAC, announced he’d be staying home as well.
“Given that the interaction was 10 days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and I have no current symptoms, the medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low,” Senator Cruz said in a statement.
Rep. Gosar, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, praised the president on Sunday for his handling of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., despite the fact that Trump is actively spreading misinformation.
“As we learn more about COVID-19, it is imperative to heed the advice and guidance from the CDC and medical professionals,” Gosar said. “President Trump and Vice President Pence have assembled an incredible team and I have been in contact with the CDC and the House Office of the Attending Physician.”
CPAC, which was held in National Harbor, Maryland from February 26-29, featured some of the conservative movement’s biggest stars, including President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
Another CPAC attendee, Raheem Kassam, announced on Twitter yesterday that he’d been experiencing flu-like symptoms for the past week and was worried that CPAC’s Patient Zero, who has not been named, was likely in the same room as a number of high-profile people like, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz made quite a spectacle on the House floor last week when he showed up in a gas mask, mocking fears over the coronavirus. A woman from Gaetz’s congressional district died from COVID-19 on Friday.
Many Republicans have insisted that the concern over the coronavirus crisis is simply hype intended to harm President Trump, and some have even suggested that China’s situation, where over 80,000 people have contracted the disease and over 3,000 have died, could be a good thing for Americans.
Last month, Gosar held a town hall meeting where he told constituents that the coronavirus crisis in China was an opportunity for U.S. manufacturing to come back.
“It’s gonna be very interesting to see what happens because of this coronavirus,” Gosar said in a video posted to YouTube. “It’s really hampering trade from China, so this is an opportunity for America to shine. Our manufacturing, our services, all those things we can build on.”
Update 1:25 pm ET: Rep. Gosar is now tweeting about death and how he’d prefer to “die gloriously in a battle.” As any normal person does, of course.