'Dozens' of Republicans refused to wear masks while sheltering during Capitol riots, Rep. Swalwell says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Monday morning, a New Jersey congresswoman tweeted that she had tested positive for coronavirus following Wednesday's Capitol lockdown.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, 75, said she believed she contracted the virus while sheltering in place in the U.S. Capitol.

Monday night, Rep. Pramila Jayapal also announced she tested positive after "several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one."

Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell told ABC7 News he was in that same room as Watson Coleman and is not surprised. He said "dozens" of his Republican colleagues and their staff members refused to put on masks and laughed when they were asked to do so.

"Many people were laughing at our efforts to have them masked," Swalwell said. "One of my colleagues, Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, she went and grabbed a stack of masks and asked them if they would put the masks on and they just smirked and shook their head and essentially told her to buzz off...it was disgusting."

Swalwell said he also asked the Sergeant at Arms to make an announcement asking people to put on masks.

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National Geographic photographer Louie Palu documents the siege inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

"He was panned and laughed at," Swalwell said, "And now a member has tested positive, two members, actually who were in that room have tested positive, and it's just height of selfishness that people would do that."

Rep. Jake Turner, a Republican from Kansas, announced on Twitter late last week that he received a positive test result on Wednesday night after spending the day at the U.S. Capitol.

Bay Area congresswoman Barbara Lee told ABC7 News she was also in the same room sheltering in place.

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"It was a super-spreader event," Rep. Lee said. "It is outrageous the irresponsible nature of their behavior, but they listened to Donald Trump about masks. They're following his lead...and now who knows who else will get infected."

Both Lee and Swalwell said they have received both doses of the vaccine. Rep. Watson Coleman, who tested positive, had received only the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Swalwell said he plans to get tested on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution.
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