- Rep. Matt Gaetz’s whirlwind of a day after he learned he was exposed to the coronavirus ended in a Walmart parking lot, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
- The Florida congressman was initially skeptical of the virus — going so far as to wear a gas mask on the House floor — but he was forced to self-quarantine aboard Air Force One after sitting next to President Donald Trump on the ride over.
- On the plane, Gaetz learned he had posed for a photo with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.
- To take maximum precautions, Gaetz reportedly slept in a Walmart parking lot “somewhere off [Interstate] 85” on his drive back to Florida from Washington, DC.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When he sported a gas mask on the House floor last week, critics questioned how seriously Rep. Matt Gaetz was taking the coronavirus outbreak.
But following his self-quarantine aboard Air Force One on Monday after he had been in close contact with President Donald Trump — in the same car on the way to the flight — Gaetz hit the road and skipped staying in a hotel, electing instead to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot.
“I slept in a Walmart parking lot somewhere off [Interstate] 85,” Gaetz told the Pensacola News Journal from his car as he completed the drive to Florida on Tuesday.
Gaetz told reporters that he planned to spend the remainder of his 14-day self-quarantine at home in Okaloosa County, Florida.
The Florida congressman was exposed to the virus when he posed for a photo at the Conservative Political Action Conference forum with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
In his interview with the regional paper, Gaetz said lawmakers should take precautions because of how much they interact with the public on a day-to-day basis.
He also reflected on the gas-mask stunt.
“I wasn’t making light of the situation,” Gaetz told the Pensacola News Journal. “I only wish I had worn the gas mask at CPAC.”