'What the hell's the matter with them?': Biden scorches GOP lawmakers who didn't wear masks in secure areas during Capitol riots, saying they need 'to grow up'

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John L. Dorman
·3 min read
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Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden. Susan Walsh/AP
  • President-elect Joe Biden on Friday excoriated Republicans who refused to wear masks while huddled with other lawmakers during the Capitol riots, saying they needed "to grow up."

  • "Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of the Congress while the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs refuse to wear masks while they were in secure locations," he said.

  • At least three Democratic House members who were in locations with a select number of maskless Republicans have now tested positive for COVID-19, including Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Brad Schneider of Illinois.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday excoriated Republicans who refused to wear masks while huddled with other lawmakers during the Capitol riots, saying they needed "to grow up."

While speaking about his COVID-19 vaccine plan, Biden ripped into the politicization of mask-wearing that has become a flashpoint across the country and on Capitol Hill.

"Wearing a mask from now until April will save as many as 50,000 lives," Biden said. "Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of the Congress while the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs refuse to wear masks while they were in secure locations."

Biden praised Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who represents his home state of Delaware, for passing out masks to members of Congress who were sequestered in a safe area. A now-viral video showed several GOP members laughing and dismissing Blunt Rochester's efforts.

"I'm so proud of my congresswoman, Lisa Blunt Rochester, trying to hand out masks while people were lying on the floor, huddled up," he said. "And Republican colleagues refusing to put them on. What the hell's the matter with them? It's time to grow up."

Read More: Mitch McConnell is telling GOP senators their decision on a Trump impeachment trial conviction is a 'vote of conscience'

During the riots, where five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer, lawmakers were in secure areas around the complex.

At least three Democratic House members who were in locations with a select number of maskless Republicans have now tested positive for COVID-19, including Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Brad Schneider of Illinois.

Watson Coleman, 75, is a cancer survivor.

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California set financial penalties for members of Congress who come to the House floor sans mask, imposing a $500 fine for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.

Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, implored Americans to take the virus seriously and emphasized his plans to impose a mask mandate on public transit.

"For God's sake, wear a mask if not for yourself but for your loved ones - for your country," he said. "These are real matters of life and death."

Since the pandemic began in the US, roughly 23.5 million people have been infected and over 392,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Read the original article on Business Insider