A Capitol Hill reporter shamed a Gold Star family of a Marine who was killed in the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport last month. There were strong reactions to the reporter snitching on the family who laid the Marine to rest this week.
Politico's co-congressional bureau chief, Heather Caygle, took to Twitter to post a photo of Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) with a group of people in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol Building.
"Masks requirement in the House. Tours not allowed. Yet here we are — group of 9, only 2 in masks," Caygle captioned the photo.
McClintock was giving a tour of the Capitol to the family of Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee — who was among the 13 American service members killed by the suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport during the tumultuous military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
When it was pointed out to the reporter that it was a Gold Star family, Caygle doubled down by saying, "How does that exempt them from wearing a mask?"
Politico's congressional reporter Katherine Tully-McManus defended her colleague by tweeting, "The classic dilemma: a member escorts in a tour, clearly not 'official business,' Capitol Police are not empowered to enforce much of anything when it comes to members. No one is enforcing masks. (See: members cursing out USCP at House chamber metal detectors when they try)."
However, she was corrected by Michele Perez Exner – communications director for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Exner said, "This photo was of @RepMcClintock and the family of fallen Marine Sgt. Gee. They were in the Capitol for an official meeting with @GOPLeader. So, yes, it was 'clearly official business.'"
Tully-McManus wrote an "addendum/clarification" and admitted that the Gold Star family was conducting official business by meeting with McCarthy.
On Twitter, there was a massive blowback to Caygle snitching on the Gold Star family for not wearing masks.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) shined a light on the hypocrisy, "On Tuesday, @SpeakerPelosi was hugging and shaking hands with over a dozen people without a mask. Not a word was reported from this journalist who is now smearing a Gold Star Family on a Capitol tour so far away she had to zoom in."
Rep. Jeff Duncan posted a photo of Democrats who were not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks at the Congressional Baseball Game and asked, "Does seeing people not wearing masks trigger you? If so, (trigger warning)."
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) mocked the reporter, "Look, an opinion from a D.C. journalist that nobody asked for. Attacking @RepMcClintock for spending time with the family of Sgt. Gee is pathetic. Sit this one out."
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh said, "The family of a fallen Marine get a tour of the Capitol and @heatherscope publicly shames them for not wearing a mask. This is psychotic behavior."
Erielle Davidson, senior policy analyst for JINSA, wrote, "A reporter picking on a Gold Star family for being maskless in a WIDE EMPTY space is precisely why people despise the media. They're vultures."
Fox News contributor Lawrence B. Jones III called her a "Karen" and sarcastically offered "thoughts & prayers" to the reporter.
Townhall senior writer Julio Rosas noted, "Another example of why Americans hate the media so much, and rightfully so."
Townhall managing editor Spencer Brown slammed Caygle, "Going full COVID Karen on a gold star family who lost their loved one in the suicide attack outside HKIA is quite the look."
Political consulting firm president Ellen Carmichael said, "Irrespective of the heartbreaking backstory behind this photo, the purpose of this tweet was to embarrass this family and/or the GOP congressman with them. People break rules all the time. This is narc'ing with a purpose. Not cool."
Sgt. Gee was only 23 years old when she was killed in Afghanistan. Six days before her death, she shared a photo on Instagram of her cradling a baby with the caption: "I love my job."
Gee – who was from Roseville, California – was laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Wednesday.