After fleeing their state on a private jet — unmasked and equipped with at least one case of beer — to avoid voting on an election integrity bill that would otherwise easily pass the state’s Republican majority, three fully vaccinated Texas Democratic lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19.
Because of course they have.
Here’s the backstory, ICYMI: On Monday, the majority of the Texas state House Democrats and a few state Senators flew off — in a private jet — to Washington D.C., to deprive the House of a quorum and forestall a vote on a Republican election integrity bill.
They hadn’t even left the ground before they began disseminating evidence to the world that this was all a big dramatic, self-aggrandizing stunt.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick used a Twitter post to mock a photo published to social media:
Smiling House Dems fly off to DC on a private jet with a case of Miller Lite, breaking House quorum, abandoning their constituents, while the Senate still works. It’s my hope that Senate Dems report tomorrow to do what they were elected to do. We will vote on #SB1. #txlege pic.twitter.com/5Kcc4emNFg
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) July 12, 2021
It didn’t help matters much that they immediately started live streaming on social media to make sure all their followers knew how incredibly brave they were.
Naturally, The New York Times was happy to help, with reporters Reid Epstein and Nick Corasaniti, describing the stunt in approving terms: “The hastily arranged departure added a cinematic element to the partisan wrangling in a state with a colorful political history.”
Texas State House Democrats have arrived at Dulles Airport and are recording selfie videos of themselves for their social media networks pic.twitter.com/4YE27rcPoJ
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) July 13, 2021
And it certainly was just begging for mockery when one posted a picture of her underwear online to show how difficult life was at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
You bet we’re recognizing & honoring our country’s heritage. As most Texans, tho, this is what we’re doing tonight—using whatever is accessible, uwashing our clothes in the sink. #txlege https://t.co/HC8uDSnWk5 pic.twitter.com/DoaatSCqmj
— Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) July 16, 2021
It was certainly the case of Miller Lite they brought with them when they originally fled the state that attracted the most attention from critics, but the mask hypocrisy was rather glaring as well and, as it turns out, looks a heck of a lot worse now.
These lawmakers might have been better off if they’d stuck to the rules they expect us plebs to adhere to whilst in flight.
Of course, both masks and vaccines are supposed to work to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus — depending on whom you ask, when you ask it, what Dr. Anthony Fauci had for breakfast that morning, and what phase the moon is in, at least.
But in this case, if the lawmakers forsook the masks because they were confident their jab would protect them, that went about as well as their political stunt has.
The Austin American-Statesman reported on Saturday that three of the Texas Democrats on the run in Washington have tested positive for the coronavirus despite being vaccinated.
“One member found out about their positive test result late Friday evening, but they do not have symptoms, caucus officials said. All House lawmakers were alerted and received a rapid test following the member’s positive result,” the newspaper reported.
Two more members tested positive Saturday morning, one of whom has mild symptoms, according to the report. Most of the almost 60 lawmakers who left the state earlier this week are staying at the same hotel.
“The three who tested positive on the rapid tests will receive a PCR coronavirus test, a more sensitive and accurate version of a COVID-19 test,” the newspaper also noted. “The positive members will isolate for 10 days before taking a follow-up test, according to a memo obtained by the American-Statesman.”
This is quite possibly the biggest disaster of a trip not seen since the S.S. Minnow. Perhaps all of these Texas Democrats ignoring the mask mandate on the plane to DC led to this. Look forward to seeing the coverage… https://t.co/dj8u6hM5Xi
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) July 17, 2021
Two of the lawmakers who tested positive have not been identified, but Rep. Celia Israel of Austin confirmed her positive test to the American-Statesman.
Looks like COVID-19 is conspiring against the Republicans’ election integrity bill as well, as this means at least these three members will have to extend their already arduous — and incredibly brave, did I mention their bravery? — stay in the nation’s capital.
The American-Statesman also reported that, “There was a notable increase in the use of face coverings among lawmakers and Democratic staffers at their hotel on Saturday morning,” after masks had only been used “sparingly” by the group since arriving in Washington.
“The House Democratic Caucus is following all CDC guidance and protocols,” said Rep. Chris Turner, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, in a statement, according to the American-Statesman.
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions. We are in touch with public health experts in Texas to provide additional guidance. Our caucus will follow all recommendations from public health experts as we continue our work,” he added.
Republican state House Speaker Dade Phelan, who has been urging the lawmakers to return to the state and said on Thursday that a plane would be on “standby” in Washington this weekend to take them home, did graciously wish the lawmakers well upon news of the positive test results.
“Kim and I extend our prayers for safety and health for the members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Washington, D.C.,” he said, according to the American-Statesman.
With the sincerest hope that the lawmakers are indeed just fine, it’s impossible not to note the double standards upon double standards and hypocrisies upon hypocrisies.
First of all, the lawmakers are effectively — and very publicly — filibustering legislation after their party has been loudly declaring that the U.S. Senate filibuster is a “relic” of Jim Crow, which is as disgusting as it is absurd. They use language that’s just as despicable to denounce efforts to secure our elections, as well, by the way.
Second, this is the party that has been loudly advocating for the civil liberties of Americans to continuously be suppressed to stop the spread of a virus that these lawmakers were apparently not very afraid of.
The Democrats have been supportive of everything from vaccine passports to overreaching mask requirements (including aboard airplanes) to monitoring our text messages to stop the spread of “misinformation,” all in the name of this supposedly dire health emergency.
By gazing at their navels and running off to Washington, D.C., where they’re too busy recording live streams and meeting with lawmakers to remember to virtue signal their adherence to the mask requirements their political party clamors for, these Texas state lawmakers might have just unwittingly caused their own mini-COVID outbreak.
And to judge by their own standards, by the Democratic fear-mongering when it comes to matters like vaccine passports and mask mandates — not to mention dystopian government control over “problematic” speech about the virus, they’re taking a risk that may cost them their lives.
What are they going to do if cases begin to spread to others who stayed in the hotel or met with them this week, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Vice President Kamala Harris?
Whether you’re deathly afraid of the virus or you think the severity it poses has been dramatically hyped, there’s no denying the glaring inconsistencies here.
Good grief. What a circus.
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