Pelosi goes off, calls McCarthy a "moron" after he objects to mask mandate

After a tense argument, Pelosi reached her boiling point, calling McCarthy a "moron" for rejecting the mandate

Published July 28, 2021 2:49PM (EDT)

Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had a heated exchange over the reimplementation of a mask mandate in the House of Representatives, prompting Pelosi to call McCarthy "a moron." 

The mandate was restored Tuesday night by the Capitol physician Brian Monahan for the lower chamber to mitigate the spike in cases due to the delta variant of COVID-19. Monahan's move was met with praise by Pelosi, but, across the aisle, McCarthy criticized it for being a part of the liberal agenda.

"Make no mistake — The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state," McCarthy tweeted Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, Pelosi returned to wearing a mask. Talking to reporters on Capitol Hill, she cited the science behind Monahan's rationale.

"That's the purview of the Capitol Physician ... the mandate from him. I have nothing to say about that except we honor it," Pelosi said outside the Capitol. 

When asked about McCarthy's comments, she had some choice words before getting into a vehicle and leaving the Capitol:

"He's such a moron," she quipped. 

By Leah Foreman

Leah Foreman is an editorial intern at Salon and a graduate student at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Follow her on Twitter @TheLeahForeman.

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Brian Monahan Kevin Mccarthy Mask Mandate Nancy Pelosi Politics