U.S. Congressman Tests Positive for COVID Hours After Attending Electoral College Vote in Person
The newly elected U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday night, hours after he appeared in person at the U.S. Capitol to vote on the ratification of the Electoral College results of the 2020 presidential election.
In a statement on Twitter, the Kansas Republican said he was not currently experiencing any symptoms.
"Late Wednesday evening, Congressman Jake LaTurner received a positive test result for COVID-19. Congressman LaTurner took the test as part of Washington, D.C.’s travel guidelines that requires visitors be tested. He is not experiencing any symptoms at this time," the statement read.
It continued: "Congressman LaTurner is following the advice of the House physician and CDC guidelines and, therefore, does not plan to return to the House floor for votes until he is cleared to do so."
As of Thursday morning, more than 21,409,400 people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 361,383 have died, according to a New York Times database.
Just hours prior to his positive COVID-19 test, LaTurner and other members of Congress gathered late Wednesday night to ratify the Electoral College results — Joe Biden’s 306-232 electoral victory over Donald Trump — after a dramatic and violent siege of the U.S. Capitol building by the president's supporters.
Their vote further confirmed that President-elect Biden will take the oath of office in two weeks, though it was delayed for hours when the rioters stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate.
Amid the violence, at least one woman was fatally shot, and three others were left dead after suffering from "medical emergencies," Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee III said in a press conference late Wednesday night. Several MPD officers were injured in the riots.
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LaTurner was among those who condemned the riots. "The lawless behavior at the U.S. Capitol is reprehensible and has no place in our country. This is a stain on American history, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," he wrote on Twitter.
"The First Amendment guarantees the right of Americans to peacefully assemble, and I will always defend that right," he added. "This is un-American and an utter betrayal of that founding principle. This must stop now."
Vice President Mike Pence also denounced the siege and broke from Trump earlier on Wednesday when he publicly stated he would not use his power to block Congress' confirmation of Biden as president.
When lawmakers finally reconvened to finish the process, Pence opened the resumed session by addressing the people who "wreaked havoc" on the Capitol.
"You did not win. Violence never wins," he said. "Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house. As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy."
On Thursday morning, Trump officially agreed to an "orderly" transition on Jan. 20 while still saying he disagrees "with the outcome of the election" and referencing his baseless claims of voter fraud.
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