Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy a 'moron' for opposing new guidelines requiring fully-vaccinated people in certain areas to wear face masks.

Pelosi was defending new face mask requirements in the House - where fully-vaccinated people will be required to wear masks in accordance with new CDC guidance - when she was asked about comments from McCarthy. 

Getting into her SUV, Pelosi was heard muttering of him: 'He's such a moron.'


McCarthy claimed the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on face masks were not 'based on science' but from 'liberal government officials.'

'Make no mistake - the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,' McCarthy wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

That is when she fired off her insult, the latest strike between the two leaders, who have seen new levels of bipartisan bickering. 

Asked later to clarify her remark, Pelosi didn't deny it but said: 'To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think it's is not wise, and that was my comment and that's all I'm gonna say about that.'

McCarthy snapped back, sarcastically calling Pelosi 'brilliant.'

'Well, if she's so brilliant, can she tell me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate? Can she explained to me when the CDC says only vaccinated people need to wear a mask in hotspots?,' he told reporters on Capitol Hill. 

The House has reinstituted a mask mandate for everyone - including those fully vaccinated. The Senate has not. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy a 'moron' for opposing new face mask guidelines

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy a 'moron' for opposing new face mask guidelines

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on face masks were not 'based on science' but from 'liberal government officials'

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on face masks were not 'based on science' but from 'liberal government officials'

Pelosi announces new mask policy in the Hall of the House
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Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday his administration will require federal workers to be vaccinated or else submit to strict testing measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged fully vaccinated individuals 'wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.' 

It said that 63.4 percent of counties now had levels high enough to warrant indoor masking. 

Washington D.C. is rated as one of those areas, where the rate is 52 cases per 100,000. The CDC said Americans should resume wearing masks in areas where there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days.

Relations between Pelosi and McCarthy have reached a new level of nastiness after she nixed two of his picks for the House committee investigating the January 6th MAGA riot at the Capitol.

Both leaders were at an event in the White House Rose Garden on Monday to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act - they didn't acknowledge one another during the ceremony, where they sat on opposite sides of the aisle. 

After Pelosi vetoed Republican Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan - both staunch Trump allies who voted against certifying the election results for Joe Biden - from participating on the panel, McCarthy pulled his three other picks for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

The speaker said she removed the two Republicans based on the 'integrity' of the investigation.  As speaker, Pelosi has final say on who sits on the panel. 

She also struck back, adding GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger to the committee to join her previous Republican pick, Liz Cheney.

For his part, McCarthy has called Pelosi a 'lame duck speaker' - an insult to her power and his way of declaring he will occupy the office next. Pelosi would be a lame duck only if Republicans win control of the House in the November 2022 election.

McCarthy also called Kinzinger and Cheney 'Pelosi Republicans' and indicated he's considering retaliation against them for serving on the House panel at Pelosi's invitation. 

'She's broken Congress. Then it just makes the whole committee sham and the outcome predetermined,' McCarthy told reporters of Pelosi at the White House on Monday. 

Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) and Speaker Pelosi (far right in yellow) were both at an event at the White House on Monday but did not interact

Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) and Speaker Pelosi (far right in yellow) were both at an event at the White House on Monday but did not interact


Meanwhile, face masks are again required in the House of Representatives for all lawmakers, staff and reporters - including those fully vaccinated - the Office of the Attending Physician announced in the wake of new CDC guidelines.

'To be clear, for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED,' Dr. Brian Monahan wrote in a memo sent to staff late Tuesday night that was obtained by DailyMail.com.  

The White House also is requiring staff to wear masks again as the Delta variant is causing COVID case numbers to spike. Earlier this year, face masks were required for everyone in the Capitol but that rule was relaxed in June, allowing the fully vaccinated to go mask free.

But in the past few days more lawmakers and staff had been wearing masks in the wake of news that one of Pelosi's staff, along with other congressional aides, had tested positive for COVID. 

Some Republicans railed against the new guidelines and more than a dozen intentionally didn't wear face masks on the House floor on Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas suggested the House just adjourn. 

'We can't come to the floor, I can't execute my constitutional duty unless I wear a mask. Which is it? Vaccines or masks?,' he said on the House floor. 'This institution is a sham, and we should adjourn and shut this place down.'

Monahan argued that with lawmakers traveling from all parts of the country - including those with high infection rates - face masks make sense.  

'For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,' he wrote. 

More lawmakers and staff are wearing face masks in the Capitol - above Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wear face masks

More lawmakers and staff are wearing face masks in the Capitol - above Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wear face masks


Monahan noted face masks are required on the floor of the House - with lawmakers and staff subject to fines if they don't wear one - although a lawmaker may remove the mask to speak. 

He urged anyone not vaccinated to do so, pointing out that the staffers and lawmakers who had 'breakthrough' COVID cases - testing positive despite being vaccinated - had 'no or minimal symptoms.'

'All these recent individuals who acquired the 'breakthrough' infection had no or minimal symptoms. There were no severe cases, attesting to the protective value of the vaccination,' Monahan wrote. 

The Pfizer vaccine is offered to lawmakers and staff via his office. 

Monahan said there was a 'very high degree of complete vaccination' on Capitol Hill although he did not supply exact numbers. 

All Democrats in the House have confirmed they are vaccinated. But nearly half of House Republicans still won't reveal their vaccination status.

Some Republicans have criticized the mask rule and pointed to contradictory advice from health officials, who early on said masks weren't necessary for general public, only to later advocate for them, saying their understanding of how the coronavirus was transmitted had evolved. 

Over the past month, the average new daily cases across the country have increased by 376 percent, from 11,887 on June 26 to 56,635 on July 26.

'This is not a decision CDC has made lightly...this is something that weighs heavily on me and all of America,' said Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, at a news conference Tuesday.

She also warned that with unmitigated spread, it could only take a few mutations for the virus to be able to bypass the vaccines entirely. 

Currently, around 56 percent of Americans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and half of the country is fully vaccinated.

That means that more than 40 percent of Americans, and 30 percent of adults, are not vaccinated at all.

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