Rep. Ayanna Pressley: Not Wearing Masks Is ‘Chemical Warfare’

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., poses for a portrait during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool via AP)
Michael M. Santiago/Pool via AP

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) claims Republican lawmakers who would not wear masks during the U.S. Capitol riot were engaging in “criminal behavior” and “chemical warfare.”

“These folks, I mean, they’re just — it’s criminal behavior, Don. I don’t know what else to call it,” said Pressley, a member of the “Squad,” in a recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.

“They have been complicit from the very beginning, and their willful criminality to carry the water for Donald Trump, and these science denials, which allow this pandemic to rage out of control,” Pressley added. “And then by refusing to wear masks, this is criminal behavior. That’s chemical warfare so far as I’m concerned.”

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The congresswoman added that she supports a resolution “calling for the expulsion of these members.”

“They are unfit to serve,” said Pressley, who went on to suggest that the “safe room” that lawmakers were taken to during the riot was more dangerous than the riot itself because of those who were not wearing masks.

“When they took us to the quote, unquote, ‘safe room,’ and I walked in and saw that there was this contingent of anti-maskers in the room gathered, I immediately exited,” Pressley said.

“So imagine in that moment that the choice that I was making — and we were told as we left that space, ‘You’ll be on your own in an evacuation,’ and I said I’ll take my chances,” she added.

Pressley went on to insist that her colleagues in government have “recklessly endangered” the members in that safe room.

“In the midst of this terrorizing event, which inflicted great trauma, injury, and loss of life, where you would think even in that moment, that they would attempt to extend some grace, some collegiality, or just to be decent human beings,” Pressley said, “they chose to recklessly endanger the members in that room, my spouse, my staff, and that of everyone else who was in proximity to them.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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