‘Come into my office & arrest my entire staff’: Capitol Police ordered to ARREST maskless staffers, Republicans say they’ll resist

Capitol Police say they’ll arrest staffers who try to enter the House of Representatives without a mask, and report members who refuse to comply. Republicans have vowed to resist, calling out Speaker Pelosi’s “abuse of power.”

Capitol Physician Brian Moynihan announced on Tuesday that face masks would once again be required to enter the House side of the US Capitol, regardless of the wearer’s vaccination status. The measure was supported by top Democrats, but opposed by many Republicans. Even Moynihan himself was seen flouting his own guidance, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) claimed to have seen Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) forgoing her mask while “in a crowded room.”

Nevertheless, the Capitol Police have been instructed to enforce the mandate to the fullest extent of the law. A memo circulated by Chief of Police J Thomas Manger on Wednesday instructs officers to order any visitors and staff who refuse to wear masks to leave the building, and arrest them for unlawful entry if they refuse. Officers are also instructed to file a report with the House sergeant-at-arms if any members of Congress refuse to comply. 

Some Republicans have already vowed to resist. “Might as well come into my office and arrest my entire staff,” Rep. Thomas Massie, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Kentucky, tweeted on Thursday. “We are not wearing masks … the physician and the chief of police don’t have this authority.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Georgia), a vocal opponent of most coronavirus restrictions, called the move “hysterical unprecedented abuse of power,” and Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York, accused Pelosi of being “massively drunk on power, obsessed with control, and hypocritical and partisan beyond belief.” 

Texas Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R) said she’d bail out any staffers arrested for violating the mask rule, while Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Florida) told Pelosi to “come see me” if she had an issue with his staffers going maskless.

On Twitter, multiple Republican representatives hammered Pelosi over the mandate.