(USA Features) Republican lawmakers pushed back hard on a memo issued by Capitol Police threatening to arrest House staff and visitors who fail to don a mask under a new order issued by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the advice of the congressional physician.
One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, even dared officers to arrest his staff.
“This is INSANE. Might as well come into my office and arrest my entire staff. We are not wearing masks,” Massie tweeted.
“I support the Capitol Hill Police, but the Chief of Police made a mistake here. The physician and the chief of police don’t have this authority,” he added.
Other GOP lawmakers pushed back as well, leveling criticism at Pelosi in the process.
“Vaccinated, law abiding Americans: arrest them. Unvaccinated, illegal border crosses bringing COVID into America’s interior: here’s a plane ticket,” Republicans on the Government Oversight Committee wrote.
“In Biden-Pelosi’s America the maskless are arrested while the looters, shoplifters, and border crossers go free,” Rep. Darrell Issa of California added.
“This is a ridiculous abuse of power by Nancy Pelosi. It’s the People’s House, NOT Pelosi’s House!” said Rep. Jerry Carl of Alabama noted.
“This is so out of control. Pelosi is massively drunk on power, obsessed with control, and hypocritical and partisan beyond belief. This isn’t just some mask mandate either,” Rep. Lee Zeldin said.
“The enforcement measures are absurd. *There are now just 27 COVID-19 patients in ALL DC hospitals,” he noted further.
“Speaker Pelosi’s draconian behavior isn’t even based on credible science. This isn’t about our well-being. This is about politics and power,” Utah’s Rep. Chris Stewart wrote.
“This is insanity. Threatening arrest for not wearing a mask is unlawful and tyrannical!” said House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Andy Biggs.
“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,” noted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise tweeted.
“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,” posted Rep. Kat Cammack.
Capitol Police, in response to Pelosi’s rule, issued a memo earlier Thursday explaining the policy.
“The Office of Attending Physician (OAP) advised that Congress follow the CDC’s guidance to require mask wearing in interior spaces to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection,” the Capitol Police bulletin said.
“Therefore, effective immediately, to promote the good health and well-being of our employees, all USCP personnel must wear a mask at all times when in interior spaces throughout the Capitol Grounds,” the bulletin continued.
“In addition, masks are required for all individuals on site, and social distancing guidelines are to be followed,” the letter to lawmakers stated.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger informed Congress members that the “Capitol Division shall enforce this mask policy on all staff and visitors” in the House side of the Capitol building.
“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 the House Office Buildings or House-side of the U.S. Capitol,” the bulletin added. “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.”
“If a staffer, who is accompanying a Member, refuses to wear a mask, that refusal should be noted and reported to a supervisor who will, in turn, refer the matter to the House Sergeant at Arms,” the bulletin threatened.