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‘Don’t arrest me Pelosi’: House Republicans protest mask rules by walking to Senate side of Capitol

Refusing to wear face coverings, the group gathered in the Capitol rotunda for a photo-op on Thursday afternoon, before proceeding to the Senate chambers to hear a speech by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) denouncing the new mask mandates as unconstitutional and unscientific.

The wheelchair-bound Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina), Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Louie Gohmert and Chip Roy of Texas were among the rebel Republicans. 

Videos from inside the Capitol show the group posing for photos and walking to the Senate chambers.

Earlier, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) also went over to the Senate side in protest over the new House rules by “Queen” Pelosi, as he called the speaker. 

“Might as well come into my office and arrest my entire staff,” Massie had tweeted earlier in the day. “We are not wearing masks… the physician and the chief of police don’t have this authority.”

A memo circulated by Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger on Wednesday instructed officers to remove any visitors and staff who refused to wear masks from the building, and arrest them for unlawful entry if they refuse. 

Capitol Police officers were also ordered to file a report with the House sergeant-at-arms if any members of Congress refuse to comply, so they would be subject to fines.

Pelosi first mandated face masks on the House floor last year, citing the Covid-19 pandemic, and eventually extended that rule even to people speaking inside the chamber. The restriction was lifted in May, as part of the Biden administration’s push to encourage vaccinations – but reinstated this week, amid claims that the Delta variant of the virus was causing cases across the US to surge.

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