Three of the Texas House Democrats who fled the Lone Star State in order to block a vote on the election integrity bill have tested positive for COVID-19 after flying to Washington, D.C., on a charter plane without wearing masks. State Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) told CNN’s Jim Acosta that it was worth the risk of a deadly pandemic to stop the election integrity bill.
“We knew this quorum break was going to bring some risk,” Talarico said. “It brought personal risk — we have members of our delegation who left behind children, and elderly parents, and sick loved ones to come here. It brings political risk — I’m at risk of losing my seat in the state legislature — and it brought health risks because there’s an active pandemic and many of our members are over the age of 65 yet they chose to travel because this is so much bigger than one politician.”
“It’s much bigger than you or I. This is about the American experiment and whether it’s going to survive for future generations,” Talarico insisted.
The Texas House Democrat insisted that he would bravely remain in Washington, D.C., until August 7, the last day of the special session in order “to kill the voter suppression bill.”
Masked-up Jim Acosta holds Texas Democrat James Talarico’s feet to fire on CNN over flouting mask guidelines after three members of his caucus who flew to D.C. test positive for Covid. No wait, He Who Remains had the TVA trim that branch. We got this interview instead: pic.twitter.com/Eqpyq83w5j
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) July 17, 2021
The Texas House Democrats announced the positive COVID-19 tests in a statement on Saturday.
“Friday night, a Member of the Texas House Democratic Caucus tested positive for COVID. The member, who is fully vaccinated, immediately informed the caucus,” the Democrats announced. “Caucus Members and staff took a rapid test, all of which were negative. The caucus also consulted current CDC guidance, which says that fully vaccinated people who had been exposed to someone who tested positive do not need to take any additional precautions unless they are showing symptoms.”
“Saturday morning, two additional Members, each of whom are also fully vaccinated, tested positive on a rapid test,” the Democrats admitted.
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous precaution, we must still take necessary precautions,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner said in a statement. He insisted that “The House Democratic Caucus is following all CDC guidance and protocols.”
It remains unclear whether or not the Texas Democrats are in any danger. It appears that they have not developed serious symptoms.
Even so, Talarico’s statement seems particularly noteworthy. He insisted that stopping the “voter suppression” bill was worth the risk of disease and death amid a pandemic. This seems ironic, considering the fact that election integrity bills like the ones in Texas address the deliberate loosening of election safeguards last year specifically in order to make it easier to vote while allowing people to remain safe during a pandemic.
Republicans are attempting to resurrect some of the basic election safeguards — voter ID, more secure chains of custody for ballots — that got set aside last year. Democrats now demonize as “Jim Crow” any effort to restore the old safeguards.
Worse, the Texas Democrats have rallied for H.R. 1, the federal takeover of elections that Democrats dub the “For the People Act.”
Talarico’s claims about the American experiment are particularly rich considering the fact that Time magazine published an astonishing story about a “cabal” and a “shadow campaign” that pulled the levers behind the scenes in the 2020 election. While the article claims these efforts aimed at preserving a free and fair election, organizations like the Center for Tech and Civic Life funneled money into blue areas of the country, boosting turnout that helped Biden prevail.
Texas banned CTCL-style private funds targeting, but these nefarious practices show just how important election integrity efforts truly are — and how obscene it is for Talarico to suggest that these laws represent a threat to the American experiment.