Transcript for Rep. Pramila Jayapal predicted Capitol lockdown would be superspreader event
Not only did our next guest have to scramble to safety during last week's domestic terror attack at the capitol, but after being forced down into lockdown with Republican reps who refuse to wear masks, she got covid. Please welcome congresswoman pramila jayapal. Welcome. Welcome to "The view." Thank you so much for having me. Well, you're one of the last -- one of at least three lawmakers so far that have gotten covid in the wake of the lockdown at the capitol. How are you feeling, number one, and are you convinced this is going to become a superspreader event on top of everything else? Yeah. I -- I started having symptoms on Sunday. I actually started quarantining immediately after that day because I did feel that it was a superspreader event. In fact, I said it to journalists that interviewed me right after. I didn't want anyone I came into contact with to be, you know, exposed if for some reason I had picked something up, and then on Sunday, I started feeling the symptoms, chills, flu-like symptoms, a fever, chills that wouldn't go away, sore throat, general, miserable feeling, and those have continued. I took my test on Monday morning because they like you to wait for five days after the possible time of exposure, and I found out that I was positive on Monday night. I know, whoopi, that I got it from that room because I had tested negative literally the day before, and so there's no question to me, and, you know, I'm isolating now. My husband, I put my husband at risk who is here with me, and my chief of staff who was driving me, and so I just, you know, I think we have to remember there's 3,200 I think deaths every day. That's the average for the last week, and when these Republican congress members refuse to put on masks, it's not just people like me that get affected, it's the entire country that sees that example and thinks they don't have to wear masks which is one of our best ways of protecting at this point from stopping people from getting ill and dying. Congresswoman, my family lost my -- both of my husband's parents over the holidays to covid. So I know firsthand, the tragedy and deep grief that families are grappling with. I would not wish this pain on anyone. You have since called for penalties against members of congress who refuse to wear masks in the capitol like those seen in images from the lockdown that went viral. I was horrified when I saw that there were members that refused masks and, in fact, laughed when they were offered masks during the lockdown. Democrats have moved forward to implement a mask requirement on the house floor establishing a fine system for noncompliance. $500 for the first offense, $2,500 for the second offense. Does that go far enough? I don't think it does. Yeah. I mean, I really think that -- I called for that immediately, and have been calling for enforcement of the rules because we have had the rules around mask wearing on the floor and in capitol buildings, but they are not paying attention to it. So the only way to deal with it then is to enforce. I called for fines and I also called for members to not be allowed on the floor or in these rooms, whether it's hearing rooms or in that lockdown room. Obviously that was a different situation, but without masks. They have to be required, and so I am glad I spoke to rules chairman Mcgovern and speaker Pelosi as soon as this happened, and we have all been pushing. So I'm glad that we passed the fines, but the thing is they're not going to work unless we enforce them, and I think the other piece of this is, no entry to the floor. You do note get to do your vote if you are not wearing a mask, and I think that piece is yet to be seen. Now some critics are saying -- pointing to some footage from when domestic terrorists first breached the capitol of you not wearing a mask in the house chamber. I would like to give you the opportunity to address that. Yeah, thanks so much. The whole situation if I can just go back to that day, was that we were trapped in the gallery. There were about a dozen members of congress in the section where I was because of a terrorist attack by insurrectionists who were fueled, incited and aided by the president of the united States, and because of this violent, destructive attack on the capitol, the most destructive since the war of 1812 with intent to take hostages, to hang Mike pence, to kill Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, we were then under siege. The capitol police told us at that point to get off of our chairs, to get on the floor, to take off our masks, and to actually be ready to put on our gas masks. So if you look at those pictures, I am holding in my right hand, a gas mask. The member of congress behind me actually put hers on. She was so afraid, and she put hers on immediately, but most of us were waiting to be instructed by the capitol police as to when to put on the gas mask, but we were specifically told to take off our masks because you can't breathe within the gas mask if you have the other mask on. So all of us have been wearing masks. We took off our masks and we held our gas masks, and we were down on the floor actually as other members of congress on the main part of the floor had already been ushered out. We were left in the gallery trapped. People were pounding on the doors. The rioters, and insurrectionists were pounding on the door trying to get into the gallery where we were. Down on the floor, those were those pictures of the capitol police who had barricaded the door to the main chamber, and with furniture, and had their guns drawn. You can hear in the video that shows that picture of me, the shot that comes in. We heard the shots being fired into the chamber by the insurrectionists. We were literally under siege, under attack, not knowing if we were going to live or die. So that's the situation we were in. We were waiting for the instruction to put on the gas mask, and had been instructed to take off those masks. It's been suggested that some GOP members of congress, your own colleagues, may have helped coordinate the attack on the capitol last week from the inside. Even leading reconnaissance tours around the building the day before the riot. What's your reaction to that allegation, and if true, what can be done about it? It is one of the most terrifying things that we are dealing with. I saw those videos. I have been watching everything, obviously, and saw the video of one of the rioters, the organizers of the riots and insurrections saying that he coordinated this with three members of congress. Ugh. And I think this is one of the most serious things that is happening. There's no trust within the chamber, within our colleagues, even as we get security briefings. There's no trust that we don't have people within our own membership of congress, that are not passing this information on, helping to, you know, part of helping to plan and coordinate and execute that attack. I will say that those insurrectionists were extremely well planned. There were four bombs if you might remember that were planted on capitol grounds. One at the RNC, one at the DNC, in order to divert the attention that the insurrectionists breached the capitol. I think those people should be removed. There is a clause in the 14th amendment that allows for anyone who plans insurrection to be removed from congress. We need an investigation to make sure we have all the facts, but it is one of the most troubling things that there were people, I believe, at least it looks like within the ranks of the members of the congress that were part of planning this insurrection.
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