Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Friday that he’d tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the latest Republican figure to contract the coronavirus ― and at least the second committee member to do so.
Tillis is one of at least five people who have tested positive for the virus since attending a Saturday event at the White House celebrating the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The others include President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who announced positive tests earlier Friday. Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Lee, who is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday that he’d started experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on Thursday morning ― at around the same time he attended a Judiciary Committee hearing where he spoke without wearing a mask.
Most members of the committee attended the Thursday hearing, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). It’s unclear, however, whether Tillis was present.
In a statement, Tillis said he had “no symptoms” and was feeling “well.” He added that he’d be “self-isolating at home for 10 days and notifying those I’ve been in close contact with.”
Tillis, who is up for reelection in November, engaged in an in-person debate with his Democratic rival Cal Cunningham on Thursday night. The two men bumped elbows during the event and stood several feet apart.
Cunningham wished Tillis a “quick recovery” in a tweet and said he too would get tested for the virus after his potential exposure.
Tillis’s and Lee’s positive COVID-19 results add further complications to Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, which was scheduled to begin in 10 days.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said Friday morning that it was “premature … to commit to a hearing schedule” when the full extent of lawmakers’ exposure to COVID-19 is unknown.
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