SALT LAKE CITY — Washington has failed Utah and the rest of the nation by not doing more to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic because of partisanship, Rep. Ben McAdams said Thursday.

“There’s blame on both sides,” he said, citing his opposition to the Democratic-controlled House’s latest “bloated” stimulus bill and the Republican-led Senate’s unwillingness to negotiate a new relief package. “It’s awful. We can do better.”

The 4th Congressional District representative also took a swipe at his own party’s leader in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, for a visit to a closed hair salon earlier this week in violation of a San Francisco ordinance put in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I was disappointed to see that. I think she needs to always model good behavior,” the state’s only Democrat in Congress told the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards Thursday.

McAdams, who spent more than a week in the hospital in March after becoming one of the first members of Congress to test positive for the virus, said doctors expect him to make a complete recovery in time.

“I think it’s important to continue to follow public health guidelines, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

McAdams said even though he’s been told he may be immune to contracting COVID-19 again, at least in the short term, he wears a mask “because I think it’s important that someone in a public position walks the walk. ... The rules apply to me, just like they apply to everybody else.”

He said he hasn’t hesitated to call out the speaker, telling the board that he spoke to Pelosi on the House floor about the need for civility after she ripped up her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in February.

“I went up to her and told her that I think that’s inappropriate, that we need to model, regardless of whether you think somebody else isn’t modeling good behavior. We should always hold ourselves to a high standard and never sink,” he said. “We need to maintain civility.”

Pelosi listened, McAdams said, and thanked him “for the input. It was a brief conversation on the floor of the House but I felt it couldn’t go without being mentioned. ... I feel like it’s important to have lines for me that I’m unwilling to cross. When people cross those lines I think it’s important to speak up.”

McAdams, whose first vote after being elected to Congress in 2018 was against appointing Pelosi as speaker, described himself as a bridge builder between Republicans and Democrats who’s “working to fix what’s broken in Washington” and not afraid to stand alone.

He once again slammed Congress for not coming together “on a smart plan to slow the spread of the virus” and continue to help Americans with the impacts on health, the economy and schools, as well as for not starting to look at how to ensure the vaccine currently being developed is distributed equitably.

“I think there’s a lot that we should be doing and we haven’t, unfortunately,” McAdams said. “I think Washington has failed Utah. We’ve failed the American public. I would say that’s Democrats and Republicans who have retreated into partisan corners and not done the job we need to do.”

Last month, he called the impasse over a new relief package “inexcusable” and warned the partisan fighting was putting the nation’s economy at risk while discussing “Fiscal Responsibility, Transparency and Accountability during COVID-19,” part of the Sutherland Institute’s 2020 congressional series.

The former Salt Lake County mayor who won the seat by defeating two-term Republican Rep. Mia Love by less than 700 votes in 2018, faces what’s seen as among the toughest congressional reelection battles in the country, against Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and frequent guest on Fox News.

McAdams said he’s voting for former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president.

But he decried the current state of politics, saying he’s “never seen it this bad in my lifetime and it breaks my heart.” He said “part of the answer is the American people need to reject that type of politics, that divisive, accusatory, fingers-pointing politics” and elect people like him.

“I’m not getting invited to be on Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow because my language is not inflammatory enough to really drive the clicks and to get the viewership that they want,” he said. “We need more people who are sensible, calm, reasonable elected officials who are just going to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.”

Without referring to Owens by name, McAdams said “there’s one person in this race who when asked what they’re going to do to work across the aisle to get things done says the other side are Marxists, they hate our country, they want to destroy us. You’ll never hear me say stuff like that.”

Owens responded in a statement, saying, “Our cities are burning, businesses are being destroyed and behind it all are those who are determined to annihilate our American way of life. Antifa and those who emulate them must be condemned in the strongest manner possible.”

The Republican candidate called it “shocking to hear Democrat Ben McAdams side with them instead of the innocent victims being terrorized by the violence.”