Squad' member Pressley: Republicans engaged in 'chemical warfare' by not wearing masks during Capitol riots


Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said Wednesday that Republican colleagues who did not wear a mask while they sheltered during last week's Capitol riots had engaged in "chemical warfare."

"It's criminal behavior," she told CNN's Don Lemon. "They have been complicit from the very beginning in their willful criminality to carry the water for Donald Trump and these science denials which allowed this pandemic to rage out of control. And then by refusing to wear the masks, this is criminal behavior. That's chemical warfare so far as i'm concerned."

Pressley, a member of the so-called "Squad" of young left-wing lawmakers in Congress, was furious with House Republicans who did not don masks while they were huddled in a safe room as a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol building and disrupted certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

Her husband Conan Harris, who was with her in the Capitol on Jan. 6, has since tested positive for COVID-19. Pressley has tested negative and is isolating along with staff members.

Boston.com reported, however, that it was unclear how Harris got the virus. Three other Democrats who were in the room with Pressley have tested positive, but Republicans who didn't wear masks have not commented or denied they spread the virus.

Pressley left the room with her aides last week, she said, when she saw maskless members inside as well.

"The second I realized our 'safe room' from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited. Furious that more of my colleagues by the day are testing positive," she tweeted on Tuesday.

Pressley said she was proud to co-sponsor a resolution with Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., to expel members for not wearing masks during the siege.

criticized for refusing to wear a mask during the lockdown are: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Michael Cloud of Texas, and Doug LaMalfa of California.

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