Capitol cops back down after outrage over order to arrest staff and visitors who refuse to wear masks and break Pelosi’s mandate: States refuse to change mask guidance until they see CDC data behind U-turn
- US Capitol Police backed down and said they would ask people in the House of Representatives not wearing a face covering to leave
- Republican lawmakers blasted a memo that such individuals would be arrested
- Officers didn’t rule out arrests but said it shouldn’t come to that
US Capitol Police backed down on Thursday and said they would ask people in the House of Representatives not wearing a face mask to leave after Republican lawmakers blasted a memo that stated such individuals would be arrested.
The agency did not specifically rule out arrests but did say it should never come to that.
‘Regarding the House mask rule, there is no reason it should ever come to someone being arrested. Anyone who does not follow the rule will be aske to wear a mask or leave the premises. The Department’s requirement for officers to wear masks is for their health and safety,’ US Capitol Police tweeted in a statement.
The statement came after it was revealed officers been ordered to arrest visitors and staff who refuse to wear a mask on the House side of the Capitol complex. The policy did not apply to lawmakers who refuse to wear masks.
Several staffers and visitors were seen walking around the House side of the Capitol without masks on Thursday but were not arrested.
House Republicans, many of whom are refusing to wear face masks, blasted Pelosi for the ‘tyrannical’ directive, but the Democrat’s office responded that she ‘does not control the US Capitol Police.’
The chief of the Capitol Police reports to the three-member Capitol Police board, which is made up of the House Sergeant at Arms, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol.
The chief does not answer to the speaker. The mask mandate in the House – which requires everyone, including those fully-vaccinated, to wear one – was ordered by the Office of the Attending Physician but Pelosi said she would enforce it, which falls under her purview as speaker.
The controversy on Capitol Hill came the same day that Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that masks will be required indoors throughout the District, including for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
US Capitol Police backed down on a memo that said staff and visitors not wearing face masks in the House would be arrested
Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday vowed to defy a requirement that visitors and staff wear masks inside the Capitol. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen above on Wednesday
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would enforce the mandate from the Office of the Attending Physician that all people, including those fully-vaccinated, wear face masks in the House
A Republican lawmaker revealed a memo that said US Capitol Police had been ordered to arrest visitors and staff who refuse to wear a mask on the House side of the Capitol complex. Capitol Police Mountain Bike officers secure the plaza on Thursday (above)
House Rep. Kat Cammack, a Republican from Florida, posted a copy of the memo on her Twitter feed
Cammack 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’
Cammack then vowed that she would defy the mask requirement. ‘I will not comply, Nancy,’ the congresswoman tweeted.
At the same time, pressure is growing on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release the data that led it to reverse position on masks and recommend that vaccinated Americans wear face coverings indoors in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.
States and cities have said they are reluctant to update their own advice without seeing the evidence that vaccinated people can transmit the virus.
Multiple Republicans claim the decision was based on a study from India involving vaccines that are not approved in the U.S.
‘Their new guidance for vaccinated individuals to wear a mask is based exclusively on a study FROM INDIA—which has NOT passed peer review—using vaccines that are NOT APPROVED in the US, ‘ tweeted House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
On Capitol Hill, House Rep. Kat Cammack, a Republican from Florida, posted a copy of the police memo ordering the arrests to her Twitter feed.
Cammack 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.