On Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters got to do something many of us can only dream of doing: she told Rep. Jim Jordan to shut his mouth. During a subcommittee meeting about the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, Jordan got into a testy back-and-forth with leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — which quickly turned into a face mask meltdown that continued well after his time expired. “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth,” Waters said.
The exchange started when Jordan, who has clashed with Fauci before, began pressing him on when Americans can get their “First Amendment liberties” back. “You say now is not the time to pull back on masking, physical distancing, and avoiding congregate settings. When is the time?” he asked.
Fauci said that measures like wearing a face mask are not about liberty or freedom: They’re public health measures to prevent Americans from illness and death. “You don’t think Americans’ liberties have been threatened in the past year, Dr. Fauci? They’ve been assaulted,” Jordan interrupted, as if face masks pose more of a threat than a virus that has killed 564,000 Americans and counting.
Fauci grew more and more visibly frustrated as Jordan continued to cut him off. “You’re making this a personal thing, and it isn’t,” Fauci said. When Jordan interrupted him again, he responded, “Can I answer the question, please? My recommendations are not a personal recommendation. It’s based on the CDC guidance.” You can probably guess what happened next.
Eventually, Rep. James Clyburn, the subcommittee chair, told Jordan that he was out of his allotted time. In an attempt to deescalate the situation, Clyburn told Jordan that he will get some of his liberties back when 90% of Congress is vaccinated. “But you’re not a doctor, Mr. Clyburn. He is,” Jordan said. “What is the number?” Clyburn began banging his gavel, and it was at this point that Waters stepped in. Behold the glorious comeback for yourself:
“You need to respect the chair, and shut your mouth!” — Maxine Waters to Jim Jordan pic.twitter.com/Zq216xX1Yi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 15, 2021
I really wish CNN hadn’t shown that entire Gym Jordan rant. I wish they’d only shown the part where Maxine Waters tells him to shut his mouth.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) April 15, 2021
Auntie Maxine has spoken.
People like Jim Jordan are exhausting. They don’t actually want an answer, they want a show. https://t.co/lsjBRed3Tv
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) April 15, 2021
Maxine Waters deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for telling Jim Jordan to shut his mouth.
— Jody Larose 🌊 (@Netmeetme) April 15, 2021
Jordan has made his disdain for Fauci known. Over the summer, he pushed Fauci to denounce the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. “I don’t understand what you’re asking me, as a public health official, to opine on who should get arrested or not,” Fauci said. “You could ask me as much as you want, and I’m not going to answer it.”
Then, in December, Jordan took issue with Fauci’s suggestion that Americans listen to the CDC and avoid traveling. “Dr. Fauci says Americans should ‘avoid travel’ over the holidays. What will he cancel next?” Jordan tweeted in December.
If only social media had a “shut your mouth” button, right?
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