There is perhaps no group of people that has been more adamant about wearing masks amid COVID-19, and quarantining after exposure to the disease, than Democrats like Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). But concerns about the novel coronavirus apparently haven’t stopped the newly elected House speaker from — once again — breaking her own rules in order to serve her own interests.
According to a new report from Breitbart, Pelosi allowed a number of lawmakers who were supposed to be self-isolating to show up in-person on Sunday to cast their ballots for the speakership — and she even allowed one congresswoman to partake who had just tested positive for the coronavirus six days prior.
The dirty details
For several reasons, Pelosi’s future as the speaker of the House was in clear jeopardy leading up to Sunday’s vote. Among them: Democrats’ ultra-slim majority in the House.
Pelosi also had to fare with a number of Dems who suggested they may not vote for her, all topped off with the fact that lawmakers had to be physically present to cast a vote for the speakership — unlike many other votes in the House, which can be done by proxy amid the pandemic.
With all that, Pelosi’s odds were quite a bit slimmer this time around than in any of her other three previous runs for the coveted House leadership position. Apparently knowing that she would need all of the support she could muster, Pelosi decided to break House rules and allow lawmakers who were supposed to be in quarantine to cast their votes.
Two such legislators were Democrats, and one was a Republican, Breitbart reported. Among them was Rep. Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Dem who announced last week that she tested positive for COVID-19.
But that didn’t seem to bother Pelosi, who instructed that a special room be set up for lawmakers who were supposed to be in isolation to cast their votes.
In the end, Pelosi’s “superspreader” gamble paid off, albeit narrowly. According to the Associated Press, she was able to secure the speakership once again with 216 votes, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) nearly pulled off the upset of the century with 209 votes.
Pelosi’s power ploy
Of course, Pelosi’s idea to bring in quarantining or virus-positive lawmakers for the vote didn’t go without scathing rebukes from a number of Republicans, including a senior GOP aide who reportedly told Breitbart that the speaker only made the controversial call in order to secure a win.
“Nancy Pelosi’s grip on the speakership is so tenuous that she is forcing members exposed to coronavirus to break quarantine and come to the Capitol to vote for her and protect her political power,” the aide said.
Indeed, the optics of the convenient change of rules left a sour taste for many, as it came just a week after Republican Congressman-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana died as a result of complications from contracting COVID-19, according to the New York Post.
But whether it’s a hair appointment in a locked-down beauty salon or a chance to win the title of speaker one more time, since it’s Pelosi, this story — like so many others — will likely fall away as if nothing ever happened. What a shame.