WASHINGTON (WPRI) — It was the sneeze seen around the world.
Rep. David Cicilline was caught on national television taking off his mask and sneezing into his hand while in the House chambers during Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings.
Cicilline appeared to be socially-distanced from his colleagues, though Rep. Yvette Clark was speaking at the podium a few feet from where he was sitting.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence sat a few feet to his left, and appeared to briefly glare at Cicilline as he put his mask back on.
A spokesperson for Cicilline said the he covered his nose and mouth when he sneezed and got up to wash his hands right after, but that the clip seen on television and social media cuts off before showing him get up.
Cicilline is one of three lawmakers who co-authored the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump following the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The House voted to impeach Trump for the second time during his presidency, setting plans to hold a Senate trial into motion with just days left before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Cicilline’s maskless sneeze comes after three House lawmakers who sheltered together during the siege on the Capitol tested positive for COVID-19.