An aide to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a “rooftop reception” where the staffer came in contact with Democratic members of the Texas legislature who fled the state in order to frustrate the democratic process.
“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,” the Speaker’s office said in a statement to media, per Fox News.
The statement added that the aide did not have contact with Speaker Pelosi following the event.
“This individual has had no contact with the Speaker since exposure. 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,” the statement said. “Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely.”
Axios noted Monday that a White House aide also tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the same “rooftop reception,” apparently held in honor of the 50 Democrats who are in Washington, D.C., in order to deny Texas Republicans the quorum necessary to hold a successful special legislative session called to address voter integrity bills, as well as bills that would prevent schools from teaching Critical Race Theory, and protect female student-athletes from having to compete against biological males who identify as female.
The White House aide was also vaccinated, and an official noted that the “breakthrough” case was “mild.”
At least six members of the Texas legislative delegation that fled the state have now tested positive for COVID-19, according to NBC News: “Cara Santucci, the spokeswoman for the Texas House Democrats confirmed the [sixth] case and said the undisclosed member is self-isolating.”
“We’re focusing on our daily testing, following and going beyond CDC guidelines, social distancing and wearing masks as much as possible,” Santucci told NBC News. She also said that the delegation would no longer release a daily COVID case count, so any further cases among Texas legislators will likely go unreported.
Two Texas legislators self-identified as having tested positive for the virus.
On Sunday, just days after meeting with members of the Texas delegation, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Walter Reed Medical Center for what her spokesperson called a “routine” medical appointment. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Harris was tested for COVID-19 and the test came back negative. It is not clear whether the trip to Walter Reed was for a COVID-19 test.
The Texas delegation is expected to remain in Washington, D.C., through August 7 in order to fully deny Texas Republicans the ability to pass laws during the special legislative session. The jaunt, which is being paid for partly by the delegates themselves, according to reports, will cost around $1.5 million. The Texas Democrats insist that cost will not fall on taxpayers, but Governor Greg Abbott noted last week that the special session itself is expected to cost the state around $1 million — a cost that could be alleviated if the delegation returns.
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