They’re unmasked and they intend to stay that way.
A group of House Republicans showed their uncovered faces in the chamber Tuesday in defiance of rules set out by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) despite the recent change in federal guidance for the vaccinated.
At one point, firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted a selfie with three of her mask-free colleagues and the Twitter hashtag “#Freeyourface.”
“Masks are oppressive and nothing but a political tool,” Greene wrote in her post. “End the oppression!”
The current House rule states that masks must be worn in the chamber except when speaking during debate, though members can go without masks in House office buildings and elsewhere in the Capitol complex. Rule-breakers are fined $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second.
The leader of this rebellion appears to be Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.). Politico reported Tuesday that the Army veteran interrupted a Republican conference meeting to tell his colleagues he was “done” wearing masks and would not wear them on the House floor going forward. Last week, Mast rose during a House vote and asked “that given the updated CDC guidance, we all take off these stupid masks.”
“I’m just not gonna play her stupid game that falls somewhere between dog-and-pony show, smoke-and-mirrors, and pure manipulation,” Mast told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Friday of Pelosi’s rule.
On Tuesday afternoon, CNN producer Kristin Wilson spotted a member of the House Sergeant at Arms staff speaking with Mast as he sat on the House Floor listening to speeches. After a brief conversation, the staffer walked away.
“I am listening to the CDC scientists,” Mast tweeted after Wilson noted the encounter. “Why isn’t [Pelosi]?”
CNN correspondent Manu Raju identified others going without masks on the floor as Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas).
Pelosi has estimated that around 75 percent of House members are fully vaccinated, which she insists is not enough to return to pre-pandemic operations. She told reporters last month that she cannot force reluctant members to get the shots due to privacy concerns.
No House members have reported a positive coronavirus test since late January.