After it was revealed that he’d had interactions with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, Arizona congressman Paul Gosar made a comment in very poor taste on Twitter. Luckily, nothing gets past AOC.
As of today, the coronavirus pandemic has shut down the entire nation of Italy, invoked furious panic-buying, crippled the global economy and killed more than 4,000 people. Some 26 of that number have died in the US, with thousands more in the country exposed to coronavirus, including a few members of Congress who had interactions with a person who was later diagnosed with COVID-19 at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).
Paul Gosar, a representative from Arizona, is one of the American politicians currently self-quarantining after shaking hands “several times” and speaking “for an extended period of time” with the infected person. Gosar is spending his self-quarantine period productively, by logging onto Twitter to make a very poor taste joke about “dying gloriously in battle” instead of in a pandemic.
“If it helps at all Rep. Gosar,” she wrote, “you get roasted in committee almost every week so that’s kind of the same thing”.
Ocasio-Cortez’s clapback became instant news, with more than 135,000 likes on Twitter. Gosar’s original tweet, for the record, was liked by less than 12,000 people.
Ocasio-Cortez really hit the nail upon the head. Now is not the time to be joking about COVID-19, and most certainly not the time to be joking about preferring a “glorious” death in battle than from the pandemic, especially when thousands of people around the world are actually dying from the virus.
You’d think that Gosar, given his personal proximity to the virus, would be a little bit more empathetic about the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people exposed to coronavirus.
Especially considering that Gosar is not the only American politician currently in self-quarantine. Also on lockdown is Ted Cruz who, like Gosar, interacted with the infected CPAC attendee.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also attended CPAC, but the White House has said that Trump is “not concerned” about the interactions at all. “[He] is quite a hand washer,” spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said, as reported by CNN.
And yet Gosar’s knee-jerk reaction during self-quarantine was to make light of a pandemic that has proven fatal for thousands, and impacting hundreds of thousands more. Ocasio-Cortez was right to shut down his poor-taste comment.
More importantly, though, we all need to practice a little more empathy. For the many people personally impacted by coronavirus, the pandemic is no joke.