House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plans to exclude 1,400 invitees from President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress Wednesday, despite most congressional members being fully vaccinated.
“We went from 1,600 people to 200 people. That is a different dynamic, but it has its own worth,” Pelosi stated to reporters. “It will be its own character, it will be its own wonderful character, no not worried at all.”
Individuals were uninvited due to coronavirus restrictions. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pointed out during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Democrats “put 100 senators in the same room sitting just inches apart for hours.” Most senators at that time had not received both vaccine shots.
“It’s interesting — when it came to coming together to impeach Donald Trump for the second time after he was out of office, they put 100 senators in the same room sitting just inches apart for hours at a time over five or six days,” Rubio said on Fox News’s Fox and Friends Tuesday. “Apparently COVID was not an issue then. But now, of course, for something like this, we can’t have that many people in the room sitting next to each other. So it’s kind of silly season here.”
Rubio continued by saying he will not attend the event. “I will not be attending, and one of the reasons why is the ticket numbers have been really limited; they’re making people sit in the gallery,” Rubio explained.
Meanwhile, twelve additional members have consigned a letter to Pelosi reminding her that “hundreds” of lawmakers were sworn in during coronavirus on the House floor on January third.
“We also want to remind you that on January 3, hundreds of members were on the House Floor for their swearing in, including hundreds of guests in the gallery. If it could be safely done then, it can be safely done now, especially with more members vaccinated than ever before,” they wrote.
— Wendell Husebø (@WendellHusebo) April 27, 2021
The White House press secretary told reporters, Biden “will, of course, be wearing a mask” for the walk down the aisle, but “He’ll remove the mask when he delivers his speech.”
Congressional Republicans who have also signaled their absence from traditionally the most important speech a president delivers all year include Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Kat Cammack (R-FL), and Byron Donald (R-FL), according to Fox News.