Following the example of outgoing President Donald Trump, most Republican lawmakers have frequently dismissed the threat posed by the pandemic that's killed over 250 thousand Americans.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL)—a loyal follower of Trump—is one of those lawmakers.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Gaetz wore a gas mask on the House floor to mock those urging Americans to wear masks in public in order to stop the spread.
Gaetz has decried lockdown measures and amplified Trump's rampant disinformation regarding the virus.
On Thursday, 1,780 people died from the virus.
That same night, Gaetz attended a gala in New Jersey for the New York Young Republicans with over 150 other people, with nearly all guests violating New Jersey's mask mandate. The event was orchestrated in secrecy and the restaurant that hosted it has since been shut down.
Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy decried the event and sharply criticized Gaetz for attending it.
"That guy in the middle, the tall, handsome fella in the gray suit, that is Representative Matt Putz - oh sorry, Matt Gaetz, and based upon his past performances, it is obvious being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him. He was actually Sarah Palin's backup act for this event. ... What a fool."
"I hope you're watching Matt -- you are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly I don't ever want you back in this state,"
Murphy repeated his reprimand of Gaetz on Twitter, and Gaetz soon snidely responded.
Twitter users shared Murphy's ire for the Congressman's recklessness.
Gaetz's attempt at shade was less well-received.
Officials in Jersey City are investigating the event.