Days after Kamala Harris was reported to have taken a seemingly impromptu visit to Walter Reed Medical Center after her meeting with Texas Democrats, five of whom are now reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the Vice President did in fact take a COVID test.
Last Friday, one of the 60 or so Democrats who fled the state of Texas to prevent a vote on two bills pertaining to election integrity was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
On Saturday, the group announced that two others had contracted the illness. That number went up to five on Sunday.
The revelation comes days after Harris’ office denied on Saturday that she would not be tested for the virus or quarantine because based on times and lines of contact, it was not necessary for her to do so.
Speaking to the press on Monday, Psaki, Joe Biden’s spokesperson, said that Harris did get tested for the coronavirus and that the test returned negative.
However, she insisted that the test had nothing to do with potential exposure to two of the five infected Texas lawmakers.
Psaki said that Harris was tested and that “there was no detection of COVID-19.”
The revelation comes days after Harris’ office insisted that she would not be tested for the coronavirus even after coming in contact with two of the five lawmakers who tested positive.
A White House official who spoke to the Daily Mail told the publication that Harris had always intended to get tested for the virus before the meeting, as it was part of a previously scheduled routine doctor’s appointment at the Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend.
The two, the official insisted, were not connected.
“We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the health, the guidance of our health and medical experts,” said Psaki to the press. “We, of course, hope everybody abides by public health guidelines.”
“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,” she continued.
Harris had met with a large portion of the group on Tuesday, at least two of whom were later diagnosed with the coronavirus. The five lawmakers and Harris have all been vaccinated.
The group of Democrats faced vocal criticism from their Republican counterparts in Texas and became the subject of widespread mockery on social media for posting photos of themselves not wearing masks in two airplanes they boarded to flee Texas.
The group shared maskless selfies with a case of beer as they boarded the flights from Austin to Washington D.C. to break quorum and halt the advance of the two election bills.
Members of the group continue to taunt Republicans with photos of themselves on buses and planes, which many have noted flaunt social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The Texas House voted to have members of the group arrested upon their return to the state, and Republicans have criticized them for impacting the passage of other bills beyond those relating to election reform, such as a bill to fund retired teachers and a bill on bail reform.
On Sunday, one of the Democrats who confirmed she had the virus, state representative Celia Israel, who represents Austin, tried to play down the infection as 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 reportedly said, per the Daily Mail.
In their continued absence from Texas, the Democrats are planning to perform a virtual tour with voting rights advocates in Washington DC to pressure Congress to pass the so-called “For The People” Act.