House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy under fire after newly elected Republican dies from COVID-19
Kevin McCarthy -- Fox News screenshot

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was blasted with criticism after he offered thoughts and prayers to a Republican congressman-elect who died from COVID-19 just days before being sworn in.

Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) died Tuesday of complications from a coronavirus infection at age 41, less than a week before he was set to join Congress, and the House minority leader offered his condolences on Twitter.

"Our hearts break tonight as we process the news of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow's passing," McCarthy tweeted. "I spoke with his wife, Julia. Judy and I are praying for her and their two young children during this terrible time."

However, his statement angered many social media users who felt that McCarthy could have done more to promote public concern about the highly contagious virus and its spread, rather than pushing to reopen the economy and standing by while fellow Republicans politicized safety measures.