Wisconsin Congressman Has Coughing Fit At Mask-Optional State GOP Convention

Mary Papenfuss
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Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) suffered a coughing fit from the stage of the mask-optional Wisconsin GOP convention Saturday to the nervous laughter of the largely maskless audience.

“It’s time to talk about Donald John Trump,” Grothman said forcefully before a coughing spasm interrupted his speech. The avid Trump supporter even loosened his collar at one point while coughing, finally saying: “Yup. Okay.”

People were warned in a handout not to attend the Republican Party of Wisconsin convention if they were “not feeling well” or experiencing symptoms such as “coughing.”

There was no immediate word from Grothman about how he was faring later. But photos posted Saturday of him touring a local farmers market and a police station without a mask revealed him as someone unconcerned about catching — or spreading — COVID-19.

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The convention in Green Bay drew about 300 people. It was controversial in the community because the large in-person gathering threatened to spread COVID-19 in the county with the second-highest number of cases in the state.

“There are a lot of people here who are very excited to support President Donald Trump,” the party’s executive director, Mark Jefferson, told WBAY-TV. “That’s why they wanted to have a convention. They wanted to have it in person.”

Speakers warned about “anarchy” and “socialism” and the “violent mobs” of Black Lives Matter protesters, reported Wisconsin Public Radio. There was little mention of the coronavirus.

Extremely few attending wore masks or appeared to maintain recommended social distancing. The convention did offer free masks and hand sanitizer.

But people attending were warned that they assumed liability if they became ill from COVID-19 at the convention.

“As with any public activity, there are risks...

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