U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) were instructed to arrest vaccinated staff and visitors on the House side if they do not wear masks, according to a police memo that circulated Thursday.
The memo, issued Wednesday by USCP Chief Thomas Manger, reads in part: “If a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask after a request is made to do so, the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to House office buildings or the House side of the Capitol.”
“Any person who fails to either comply or leave the premises after being asked to do so would be subject to an arrest for Unlawful Entry,” the memo continued. It stipulated that a member of Congress who refuses to mask up will be not be arrested but rather “reported to the House Sergeant at Arms’ Office.”
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) posted a screenshot of the memo, which she told Fox News was given to her by an unnamed police officer. Cammack claimed police have told her they are “very uncomfortable” with the order.
Cammack blamed the strict enforcement on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), writing, “In today’s edition of Pelosi’s abuse of power, Capitol Police have been directed to arrest staff and visitors to comply with her mask mandate for vaccinated individuals.”
In today’s edition of Pelosi’s abuse of power, Capitol Police have been directed to arrest staff and visitors to comply with her mask mandate for vaccinated individuals.
For Members, they advise not arresting but “reporting Members to SAA for their failure to comply.”
— Congresswoman Kat Cammack (@RepKatCammack) July 29, 2021
“This is such an overstep of Speaker Pelosi’s authority to basically make our Capitol Police arrest staff members and report on members [of Congress],” Cammack told Fox News. “It’s absolutely unconscionable that this is where we’re at.”
“Cammack, like many other GOP reps, are up in arms about the return this week of coronavirus mask mandates at the House, regardless of vaccination status. The mask rules follow updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance in the wake of the rise of the contagious COVID delta variant and lower-than-expected vaccination rates,” per Fox News.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) echoed Cammack’s sentiment, tweeting, “To be clear: Pelosi is directing police to ARREST vaccinated people who aren’t wearing masks. This isn’t about science—it’s about power and control.”
To be clear: Pelosi is directing police to ARREST vaccinated people who aren’t wearing masks.
This isn’t about science—it’s about power and control. https://t.co/XMXxI0Dw2D
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) July 29, 2021
Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told Fox News: “The Speaker of the House does not control the U.S. Capitol Police. We were unaware of the [mask-related] memo until it was reported in the press.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted the strict enforcement exists only on the side of the Capitol under Pelosi’s leadership. “Somewhere in the middle of that dome, the science changes,” McCarthy said during a press briefing on the Capitol steps.
“This is not Pelosi’s house,” he added. “This is the people’s House.”
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) suggested the strict mask enforcement will not stop at the House.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) July 29, 2021
For her part, Pelosi blamed the new, stricter mask mandates on the Capitol physician.