Marco Rubio won’t be joining in any Republican booing of President Biden during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address — and not because his own SOTU-related mishap left him sympathetic to all who take part in the annual pageantry. The Florida senator confirmed earlier this week that he’s skipping the event entirely because he’s simply too busy to take a COVID test.
The House chamber will be roughly one-third full, guests are not allowed, and some members of Congress will be relegated to the public viewing gallery. Everyone in the room must have a negative PCR test result in hand and press access to the House chamber is being dramatically curtailed.
But unlike the vast majority of his colleagues (some of whom are pretty old), the Florida senator simply doesn’t have time to let someone jam a Q-tip up his nostrils for 30 seconds. And after all, what are the chances that a person who doesn’t feel sick might actually have COVID?
Well, actually … four Democratic lawmakers — Senator Alex Padilla and Representatives Jamie Raskin, Pete Aguilar, and Suzan DelBene — announced on Tuesday that they’ve just tested positive for the virus in breakthrough cases, as the Hill reports. And at least one of them was asymptomatic:
Upon further investigation, logistics might not be Rubio’s primary issue with the State of the Union’s COVID-test requirement. Per the Hill, he complained about the requirement during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
“For the first time in American history you now have people having to produce paper to go in somewhere, to sit somewhere, to go to the State of the Union,” Rubio said.
“You’ve got to show them I’m vaccinated, I took a test yesterday, they took my temperature, you know, all this stuff,” he added. “This is, what’s happening now in America, is what happens after 20 years of infusing this Marxist thought process into every aspect of our lives and now we’ve come face-to-face with it.”
Rubio has a point. I certainly felt more free during the Trump administration, when people could just wander into the State of the Union and shake the president’s hand without producing documentation proving they’d met any sort of criteria to be there. (I’m assuming. New York says checking facts is part of my job requirements, but I don’t have time to do that today.)
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