Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah both announced Friday they had tested positive for COVID-19, followed by Senator Ron Johnson, who said Saturday he had tested positive as well. Their positive test results followed the news that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19.
Both Tillis and Lee are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is set to start hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on October 12, which is 10 days away. Both Tillis and Lee said they plan to quarantine for 10 days, instead of the recommended 14 days. Neither gave a reason why they had chosen 10 days, but it would allow them to attend the hearings.
Tillis said on Friday that he had not yet experienced any symptoms. Lee said he started experiencing symptoms on Thursday.
Both Lee and Tillis were at the Rose Garden on September 26 when Mr. Trump announced he would be nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Kellyanne Conway, a former senior adviser to the president who was also at the event, also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
Johnson, meanwhile, was not at the September 26 event. His office said he came in contact with someone who tested positive on September 14, and quarantined for 14 days and did not show symptoms. Shortly after returning to Washington on September 29, he was exposed to an individual who has since tested positive, his office said.
After learning of this exposure, the senator tested positive on Friday afternoon. Johnson’s office said he feels “healthy” and is “not experiencing symptoms.” He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor.
After Tillis disclosed his diagnosis, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that it is “irresponsible and dangerous” to move forward with the hearing and “there is absolutely no good reason to do so.”
Senate Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham, who said Friday that he tested negative, said Friday that “any senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so.”