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Throughout the pandemic that's killed over 550 thousand Americans, prominent Republican lawmakers and pundits have blasted basic safety guidelines as an encroachment to liberty—especially when it comes to masks.

As President, Donald Trump frequently dismissed the need for facial coverings, even after his own CDC officials concluded that masks were effective in slowing the spread among asymptomatic carriers. Trump's most vocal supporters in Congress continue to echo that disdain for masks. For example, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) boasted about a maskless gala for New York's Young Republicans late last year.

Now, Jason Watts—a treasurer for a committee of the Michigan Republican Party—is railing against his colleagues, after catching the virus at a 70-person party meeting he was required to attend.

Watts told Michigan Live—who first reported the story—that only three out of the 70 attendees were wearing masks at the meeting, which was held in Travelers Café and Pub.

After hearing of multiple people coming down with virus symptoms who'd attended the meeting, Watts too later tested positive.

Recovering in a hospital two weeks after the meeting, he excoriated his party for its messaging on safety guidelines:

"A mask shouldn't have a political party. A vaccine shouldn't have a political party, but we've conjured these things to have these connotations. People are getting sick. And to put these connotations on these things does nobody any good."

Others joined him in his rebuke of the party's recklessness—with some encouraging him to leave the party completely.





Many said Republicans don't seem concerned about the virus until they catch it themselves.




It's not yet clear if the dinner was a super spreader event, according to a public health official in the state.