Hice and The Beast

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., stands by ‘The Beast,’ the president’s armored limousine, after flying with President Donald Trump to Atlanta on Air Force One – the Walton County congressman’s first trip on the presidential plane, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

MONROE, Ga. — Rep. Jody Hice has put himself in quarantine after exposure to a colleague who refused to wear a mask on the floor of Congress and later tested positive for COVID-19.

Hice, 60, said he is “feeling fine” and awaiting a return to normal.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, reportedly had said he would not wear a mask because he was being tested regularly.

Gohmert told CNN in June that if he did come down with the illness caused by the coronavirus, “you’ll never see me without a mask.”

Six members of the House have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Politico, along with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Politico said a screening of Gohmert revealed COVID-19 before he was to fly with President Donald Trump on Air Force One on Wednesday.

Hice, a Republican from Greensboro, cited his contact with Gohmert and a second individual who had symptoms of COVID-19 and was awaiting test results.

A statement Thursday morning said Hice and his Washington, D.C., staff members were operating under the assumption they had been exposed. That meant working remotely and practicing social distancing.

“I strongly believe it is important for Congress to fully get back to work — and that requires us as individuals to be responsible and take appropriate actions when necessary, as I believe it is now,” Hice said in a statement.

“I’m feeling fine and I haven’t experienced any symptoms but, after consulting with medical professionals, I will be taking precautionary steps to work remotely and social distance from folks for the next two weeks.

“I wish everyone a speedy recovery, and I look forward to seeing them in person in 15 days.”

Like Gohmert, Hice was tested before a flight on Air Force One with the president. Hice accompanied Trump on a July 15 trip to Georgia and like Trump didn’t wear a mask on the tarmac of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Sarah Selip, Hice’s communications director, told The Walton Tribune then that Hice had been tested beforehand and was cleared.

“We wear masks to protect others in case we’re sick so he knew he was in the clear,” Selip said. “The second he got to his chair, he put it on.”

Hice was a pastor living in Bold Springs when he was elected in 2014. He was unopposed in the Republican primary for the 10th Congressional District seat in June and will be seeking a fourth term in the Nov. 3 general election. That will be a rematch against Democratic nominee Tabitha A. Johnson-Green, a registered nurse from Sandersville.

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