Democrat Rep. Katie Porter (CA) is under fire for allegedly punishing one of her Wounded Warrior Fellows after she accused the staffer of giving her coronavirus, according to recently released text messages.
Sasha Georgiades is a U.S. Navy veteran who joined Porter’s office as a Wounded Warrior Fellow in the fall of 2020. Although Georgiades’s fellowship was set to end in August 2022, she said her fellowship was cut a few weeks short after she failed to follow “office protocols” on coronavirus.
In text messages between Georgiades and Porter, Porter said, “it’s really disappointing” that Georgiades did not “follow office protocol on testing.”
Although Georgiades offered her apologies, Porter was not moved.
“I’m terribly sorry. You’re right I should have done better. Just because I felt okay in the moment doesn’t mean that I was,” Georgiades responded.
Georgiades allegedly violated the testing protocol by failing to take a coronavirus test as soon as she felt unwell, Reason reported.
“At the time I felt okay, just sore as if had worked out too hard,” Georgiades told Reason. “It was hard to differentiate until the next morning and as soon as I felt sick I took a test, told the district director I had it, and stayed home.”
The text message thread was published by Dear White Staffers “with permission from staffer.”
VIBE CHECK: Rep. Katie Porter fires staffer after both test positive for COVID. Full texts from the Congresswoman firing the staffer via text. Shared with permission from staffer. pic.twitter.com/jbhn2NzrmB
— Dear White Staffers (@DWS________) December 29, 2022
Then, on texts from the following day, July 9, 2022, Porter told Georgiades she could not return to the office for the remainder of her fellowship. Porter told Georgiades:
Sasha- I cannot allow you back in the office, given your failure to follow office policies. Cody will be in touch about having your personal effects shipped or delivered to your home, and will lay out your remote work schedule and responsibilities for your last few weeks.
I understand. Thank you for the last two years and all that I have learned. I hate to have disappointed you in the manner, as I know it isn’t an excuse I had found out my friend from the navy had been murdered and my head was not in the best place. Not an excuse but the reasoning for the lack of forethought. I appreciate everything this office has done for me.
Then, Porter lashed out at Georgiades for allegedly giving her coronavirus.
“Well you gave me Covid,” Porter said. “In 25 months, it took you not following the rules to get me sick. My children have nobody to care for them.”
Georgiades also told Reason that Porter “never spoke a word to me after this.”
After the text message exchange was published, Porter’s office denied retaliating against Georgiades because she caught the coronavirus.
“This former employee was not fired. She was a fellow in our office, and weeks before she breached COVID protocol in July, we had already mutually agreed on an end date in August 2022,” Porter spokesman Jordan Wong said.
“Congresswoman Porter was informing her that she would work from home for the remaining three weeks of her fellowship,” Wong added. “Following knowledge of COVID exposure, Congresswoman Porter tested twice daily and only attended in-person gatherings after negative results.”
Georgiades believes she “was not fired because” Porter could not fire her due to her status as a Wounded Warrior Fellow.
“I was a wounded warrior fellow so the program would have to have had fire [me],” Georgiades told Fox News. “Essentially I was demoted to remote and banned from the office.”
“I do believe if there hadn’t been that protection of the wounded warrior program she would have,” Georgiades added.