WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX19) - A northern Kentucky congressman who felt the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill was too excessive tried but failed to delay the vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Friday.
Instead, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie faced the viral wrath of President Donald Trump who tweeted he was “a Grandstander” and tried to jettison him from the Republican party
Former Secretary of State John Kerry retweeted: #BREAKING: Congressman Thomas Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!)
Massie’s opposition didn’t just threaten to delay the vote, it also required several of his colleagues to travel to Washington D.C. to vote in person instead of remotely, risking potential exposure to coronavirus.
Since then, two have tested positive for COVID-19 including another congressman from Kentucky, Rand Paul; a handful are in self-quarantine and several states have issued stay-at-home orders.
More than a dozen congressmen indicated in tweets in the last 24 hours they were heading to the nation’s capital to do everything they could to pass the legislation.
Some didn’t bother to hide their disdain.
Two of Massie’s three colleagues defended him to Trump, with one even tweeting for the President to “back off.”
Republican Congressmen Warren Davidson and Brad Wenstrup both said in separate interviews the bill wasn’t perfect.
But it does provide emergency legislation that helps healthcare workers, hospitals, businesses with liquidity and keeps workers on payrolls.
“We see businesses retooling their industry. We see groups donating supplies and others seeking cures. We’re learning many lessons and finding many flaws that we must fix so we have the opportunity to come back even stronger and more responsible than ever,” Wenstrup said.
"We need to pass this bill. This time is very unprecedented. Let’s get it done.”
Davidson (R-OH) took a 6:30 a.m. flight out of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport but stayed quiet on social media.
He told FOX19 NOW he wasn’t upset about having to travel: “If this is what we need to do, there are people doing a lot more to get through this than what Congress is being asked to do, frankly.
"There are certainly things in there that I felt weren’t merited, but when you say well, what do you say to 3 or 4 million people who had jobs last week and this week they lost their jobs? They didn’t lose their jobs for no reason. The government decided to react very aggressively, arguably for a good cause, but what are they supposed to do?
“I do think it’s necessary and I think that the core issue here is the free market did not close the economy. The government did. And so the government needs to step in and cover the cost of that decision.”
On the House floor, Davidson said in part:
“Like any war, the enemy votes too, but the sooner we can get lower-risk Americans back to work, the safer most people will feel. In the COVID 19 response, we must defend the values and way of life that make America the land of opportunity.”
After the vote, Davidson praised Massie on social media to show he had no hard feelings.