Washington – Two Republican members of the Senate Legal Affairs Committee tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about Justice Ammy Coney Barrett’s upcoming confirmation hearings as Supreme Court Justice and whether other senators may have been exposed to the infection.
Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah said Friday that they were detected for the coronavirus. They both attended a Barrett-related ceremony Sept. 25 at the White House with President Donald Trump, who announced Friday that he had tested positive and was later hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Lee, who did not wear a mask during the event at the White House, said he had “symptoms coinciding with long-standing allergies.” Tillis, who wears a mask, said she had no symptoms. Both said they would be quarantined for 10 days that will conclude before the start, on October 12, of Barret’s confirmation hearings.RELATED
Both senators made their announcement as Republicans in the Senate seek to swiftly ratify Barrett in the few weeks they have before the Nov.3 election. There is little room for maneuver in the dates set by Senate Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wants her to be the judge, the third person Trump chooses to serve. Court, take your place immediately in case they lose power in the elections.
Democrats immediately took advantage of the announcements to request a postponement of the hearings.
“We now have two members of the Senate Legal Affairs Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there could be more,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted. “I wish my colleagues well. It is irresponsible and dangerous to seek a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so. “