Traveling COVID-19 nurses were forced to share a downtown Houston hotel with anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers attending GOP Congressman Dan Crenshaw's conservative youth summit this past weekend.
Not surprisingly, it didn't go well.
In a report on Crenshaw's "conspicuously maskless" summit at the Hilton Americas, the Washington Post's Ben Terris noted, "At this very hotel in downtown Houston, dozens of traveling nurses from all over the country had flown in and were using the lobby downstairs as a staging ground; jumping on buses and being brought to hospitals in the area that were dealing with COVID-related shortages."
"It's pathetic," one nurse from Boston told the newspaper. "They are complaining about having their freedoms taken away. But the people in that room clearly don't know real suffering."
Harris County, where Houston is situated, reported an average of more than 2,000 daily COVID cases last week, with officials urging unvaccinated people to stay home.
But at Crenshaw's summit, speakers reportedly slammed President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate and COVID testing requirements for businesses with more than 100 employees, and expressed anti-mask and anti-vaxx views.
Ben Shapiro told attendees that his right-wing media company, the Daily Wire, is preparing to challenge Biden's rule in court.
"I'm very very pro-vaccine, but I'm also more pro-freedom," Shapiro told an electrified crowd.
Benny Johnson, a Trump-loving meme-maker for Turning Point USA, said: "Who loves breathing sweet, delicious, free air, maskless?"
According to the Post, most conference-goers didn't notice the nurses using the same escalators that brought them to the ballroom, and "grave admonitions of public health authorities were ripe for the mocking."
"This room is absolutely jam-packed!" conservative commentator David Rubin shouted over a Blink-182 cover band during the conference's opening night, on Sept. 11. "And I'm fairly certain no one is going to die here!"
Last year, Crenshaw canceled his youth summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year he told the Post he and his supporters weren't "going to live in fear forever."
"If you're of student age and you're unvaccinated, you are still better off than a vaccinated adult," Crenshaw said. "I follow the science, unlike everybody else, when it comes to COVID fear porn."