Kamala Harris did get tested for coronavirus following a meeting with the runaway Texas Democrats, the White House revealed Monday, but her office insists it had nothing to do with the potential exposure to two of the five infected lawmakers.
Jen Psaki, Joe Biden‘s press secretary, told reporters during a briefing Monday that the vice president did get tested and ‘there was no detection of COVID-19.’
A White House official told DailyMail.com on background that Harris always intended to get tested for the virus before her previously scheduled routine doctor’s appointment at Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend.
They also insisted that the vice president’s test had nothing to do with the fact that she met with at least two Texas state lawmakers who later tested positive for COVID-19.
The two are not connected, the official said.
Psaki assured on Monday: ‘We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the health, the guidance of our health and medical experts.
‘We, of course, hope everybody abides by public health guidelines,’ she continued. ‘That’s what we certainly recommend, but the vice president — what’s important for everybody to know — is the vice president was tested. She, of course, takes these precautions seriously and we would follow any advice or public health officials give us.’
On Friday, one of the 60 or so lawmakers from Texas who fled to Washington D.C. last week tested positive for coronavirus. On Saturday morning, the group announced two others had contracted it, as well.
By Sunday, five Texas Democratic lawmakers had tested positive.
Jen Psaki (left) said Monday Kamala Harris got tested for coronavirus – after he office said she would not be tested after meeting with two Texas lawmakers who tested positive. A White House official told DailyMail.com Harris the test had nothing to do with the potential exposure
Harris met with a group of Texas lawmakers on Tuesday. Celia Israel (circled left) and Trey Martinez Fischer (circled right) were in the group – and both later tested positive for COVID
On Tuesday, Harris met with a large group of representatives from Texas’ State House. At least of those who got coronavirus were in attendance.
Harris’ office sent out a statement Saturday evening, however, claiming that the vice president would not be tested for the virus or quarantine because based on time lines and contact, she did not need to do so.
The five lawmakers and Harris are all vaccinated.
The group of runaway Democrats have come under fire for not wearing masks on the two jets they mounted to flee Austin last Monday to break quorum and stop Republicans passing two election reform bills.
San Antonio-area Representative Trey Martinez Fischer said on Sunday he was among the two new positive tests.
Earlier on Sunday, state Congresswoman Celia Israel, who represents Austin, revealed she was among the initial group of three to test positive – but tried to claim that catching Covid was a noble ‘sacrifice’.
‘I hope this instance highlights the sacrifice we are willing to make for the cause of democracy. I would not change anything to protect the right to vote’, she said.
On Sunday Harris visited Walter Reed Medical Center for a ‘routine’ checkup, but her office insisted she wouldn’t be qurantining or getting tested as she is fully vaccinated.
Last Monday, 58 Democratic lawmakers packed into two private jets, chartered at a whopping $100,000, to flee from Texas to Washington, D.C. in order to sabotage Republican’s two voting rights bills.
They shared maskless selfies on their coach with a case of Miller Lite as they made their way to Austin Bergstrom airport for the flight to the capital where they have vowed to stay for 30 days to stop the passage of two bills making their way through the Texas legislature.
The Texas House voted last week to have them arrested when they return to the state and Republicans have criticized them for blocking other bills – such as more money for retired teachers and bail reform – during their stunt.
The runaway Democrats are now planning a virtual ‘tour’ this week with national advocats and voting rights leaders to try and pile the pressure on Congress to pass the For The People Act.
Martinez Fischer (circled) is pictured on July 13 at an event on Capitol Hill alongside U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) (3rd from right) and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) (2nd from right)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met with the Texas Democrats including Martinez Fischer (circled)
Texas Democrats including Rep. Celia Israel (circled) meet with Kristen Gillibrand
Other Texas lawmakers joined the group in D.C., but made their own travel arrangements.
During the exodus from the Lone Star State, the Democrats snapped selfies on buses and planes to taunt their Republicans rivals. The images, however, revealed none were adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to wear face coverings on transportation modes like buses, planes and trains.
‘Today, I received a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test result. I am fully vaccinated, and had tested negative on Friday and Saturday. I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms,’ Fischer said in a statement.
Earlier on Sunday, Austin Rep. Celia Israel said in a statement: ‘After given notice Friday evening that a colleague tested positive for COVID-19, I and my colleagues immediately took rapid antigen tests.
‘While I tested negative, a subsequent test Saturday morning revealed I was now COVID positive. Let this be a reminder that COVID-19 is still very much among us, with infection rates on the rise and more contagious variants spreading nationwide. While I am fully vaccinated, this will not 100% prevent infection.’
The House Democratic Caucus said it would not identify lawmakers who test positive out of respect for their privacy.
All five lawmakers are in self-isolation and will stay there for at least 10 days.
The mass testing began after one member tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday night and immediately alerted colleagues who proceeded to take rapid tests.
On Saturday morning, two additional members tested positive.
The Democrats left the Lone Star State in order to prevent Republicans in the legislature reaching a quorum and denying them the opportunity to pass election integrity legislation that the Democrats were against.
The Texas Democrats snapped maskless selfies while in close quarters on buses and planes as they fled Austin to D.C. last Monday
The Democrats’ departure paralyzed the Texas state house as the legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers be present to conduct business.
The Vice President’s officer confirmed Harris would not be getting tested for COVID-19, despite the potential contact with the virus, and the she would not be quarantining.
A White House official said on Sunday that Harris’ visit is just a ‘routine doctor’s appointment’, and asserted it doesn’t have to do with her meeting with Texas Democrats. Harris met with the Texas lawmakers on Tuesday.
The doctor’s appointment comes the afternoon after Harris tweeted: ‘The Delta variant is no joke. Get vaccinated.’
Vice President Kamala Harris went to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (right) on Sunday for a ‘routine doctor’s appointment’ after her office said she would not be quarantining or getting tested after she met on Tuesday with at least two of the five Texas Democratic lawmakers who tested positive for coronavirus
On Saturday evening, Harris’ spokesperson Symone Sanders said the vice president did not have direct contact with the individuals who tested positive, and therefore would not be getting tested for the virus or quarantining.
‘On Tuesday, July 13th, Vice President Harris met with members of the Texas state legislature who are temporarily in Washington, D.C. Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that two of the members at that meeting tested positive for COVID-19,’ Sanders said in a statement.
‘Based on the timeline of these positive tests,’ Sanders continued, ‘it was determined the Vice President and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined.’
‘The Vice President and her staff are fully vaccinated,’ she added.
At least three of the Texas lawmakers who tested positive for the virus were also vaccinated.
No masks were worn during the meeting with the lawmakers and vice president.
As of Sunday night, five of the runaways tested positive for coronavirus – four days after meeting with Harris.
Questions immediately emerged over whether the vice president would quarantine, but her staff assured Saturday that she was not in close contact with the three lawmakers in question, even though two were present at the meeting Tuesday.
Since coming to the district, the group of 60-plus has been staying at a plush hotel in the nation’s capital and schmoozing with many high-powered politicians. They even met with Vice President Kamala Harris during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.
Several of the Texas Democrats have publicly endorsed wearing face masks, but it seems they are not so enthused about using the coverings in private. The Austin American Statesman claims that the group has only used masks ‘sparingly’ at meetings in DC.
Senator Elizabeth Warren met with a group on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
The Massachusetts senator’s office did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com when asked if Warren would get tested or quarantine.
Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain told Fox News he thought the news of the COVID positive tests was an ‘excuse to avoid coming back’ and face a vote on the elections overhaul bill.
‘I say prove it,’ Cain said of the positive results. ‘They want a reason to do a 14-day quarantine; they don’t want to come back and do their jobs. If they really have it, prove it.’
At least 60 Texas Democrats fled from the state on Monday to break quorum and block the passage of two voting rights bills. They taunted Republicans by posting selfies from coach buses and private jets were none were pictured wearing masks
The Democrats left Austin to avoid the vote on two election bills, touching down in Washington D.C. on Monday evening in two private jets, which were chartered at $100,000
According to the Austin American Statesman, ‘there was a notable increase in the use of face coverings among lawmakers and Democratic staffers at their hotel on Saturday morning’.
In a statement on Saturday, Rep. Chris Turner, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said: ‘The House Democratic Caucus is following all CDC guidance and protocols.
‘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.’
The Texas Democrats fled the Lone Star State in order to break a quorum and block the Republican-controlled Texas State House from passing new voting rights legislation.
Republicans are seeking to pass two new ‘election integrity’ bills, whereby voting would be allowed on election days from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and mail voters would also be asked to verify their identities with a state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
But Democrats have called the bills ‘restrictive’ and say they are designed to turn citizens off voting and restrict access to the polls in minority communities.
The group fled from Texas before the bills could be voted on, and they plan to wait out the full 30-day legislative session in Washington D.C.
The group are staying at the Washington Plaza Hotel, where rooms start at $199 a night.
Their decision to flee infuriated their Republican rivals, who have voted to arrest them when they return to the state.
Since arriving Monday, the group has been staying at a plush hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C. The cost of rooms at the Washington Plaza Hotel night starts at $199
Texas Democrats exit the Washington Plaza on Tuesday morning to board coach buses en route to the Capitol
‘Members, a sergeant-at-arms and any officer appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance under warrant of arrest if necessary,’ Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced from the State House floor after the vote on Tuesday.
Texas House rules allow the sergeant-at-arms to arrest members who are not present at the Capitol for a vote.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have been in D.C. portraying themselves as heroes in the fight against voter suppression.
VP Harris praised the group, as did Senator Warren, who met with them on Wednesday.
President Biden has not met with the lawmakers but, in a statement, ‘praised their courage’.
The Texas State House adjourned on Tuesday morning. The remaining lawmakers – mostly Republican – voted 76-4 to arrest Democrat members who broke the quorum by fleeing to Washington D.C.
TEXAS’ VOTING RIGHTS BILLS: WHAT’S IN THEM AND WHY THE DEMOCRATS THINK THEY ‘RESTRICT’ ELECTIONS
- The bills – House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 – were filed last week during a special legislative session called by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
- The proposed legislation creates harsher criminal penalties for people who help voters at the polls or those planning to vote by mail.
- The bills, if passed, would be a ban on 24-hour voting. Instead, there would be a new voting window from 6am to 10pm on election day.
- Rules would require residents to fill out paperwork if you are taking someone who is not a relative to vote in person.
- Regulations would require someone to exit their car during curbside voting.
- Bills would mean voters would have to provide their drivers license or the last four digits of their social security number to cast a ballot.
- New rules would stop local election officials from sending out mail-in ballots to those who haven’t requested them.
- Drive-in voting would be banned.
- Expands what partisan poll watchers can observe during counts.
- Prohibits poll watchers from being removed for violating election laws.
- Both bills would increase early voting from eight to nine hours.
- Also lowers the population threshold required for counties to provide at least 12 hours of early voting each weekday of the second week of early voting.
- Protects the legitimacy of elections and avoids fraud, according to Republicans.
Democrats argue that:
- The measures included in the bills would mainly stop minority communities and shift workers from voting because of the restricted hours.
- The regulations in the bills would make it harder to control disruptive partisan poll watchers.
- Would make it easier for losing candidates to try and overturn election results and harass winning candidates with court battles and recounts.
- Democrats also claim the provisions do nothing to make elections more secure in Texas.
- Insists the proposed legislation would help further the claims of election fraud Donald Trump has made in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
- Argue that restricted voting hours on a Sunday would have impacted the ability of black churchgoers, also known as ‘souls of the polls’, to cast their ballots.
- They instead want the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to be passed by Congress to address elections on a federal level.
- But Republicans insist that this is a power grab and would represent a ‘federal takeover’ of elections
‘I’m not worried about the threat of being arrested,’ Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett told CNN the morning after arriving in D.C.
‘I don’t worry probably because I know the law,’ she continued. ‘I’ve not committed a crime, so I can’t get arrested.’
Trey Martinez Fischer, a fellow Democratic member of the Texas State House, said Tuesday that the group of around 60 lawmakers plan to wait out the full 30-day legislative session in Washington D.C.
‘This is the risk that we take to stand up for democracy,’ Martinez Fisher told CNN.