Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wore a gas mask on the house floor on Wednesday during a vote on a $8.3 billion spending package to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Look, members of Congress are human petri dishes,” Gaetz told TMZ. “We fly through the dirtiest airports, we touch everyone we meet, so if anyone’s gonna get coronavirus, it’s totally gonna be Congress.”

Gaetz, who is one of President Donald Trump‘s biggest supporters, possibly missed the administration’s push for Americans to stop buying masks in the wake of the virus. Though Gaetz’s mask seems to be an attention grabbing spoof, critics have said it might scare people into going out and buying medical masks. The virus is not spread through the air, so a mask will not do much to protect you against the disease, according to health officials. Buying masks only creates a shortage for those who really need them, officials said.


Gaetz voted in favor of the coronavirus budget that passed in the house 415 to 2.

The $8.3 billion fund includes $3 billion for research into vaccines and tests, $2.2 billion for prevention and preparedness on the state and local levels, and $500 million for funding a health program that expands coverage to seniors.

Although Gaetz voted for the spending package he later tweeted that he “didn’t feel good about it” because it lacked spending offsets.

In response to Gaetz’s antics, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) reminded Twitter users of the time he wore a hoodie and sunglasses on the house floor to protest racial profiling, and was forcibly removed for breaking dress code rules. The sergeant-at-arms asked Gaetz to remove the mask, but Gaetz refused, and was not escorted off the house floor.

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