Mere hours after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus, it was revealed that two Republican members of the U.S. Senate have also contracted COVID-19. As relayed by Yahoo, Utah’s Mike Lee and Thom Tillis of North Carolina both announced their own positive test results on Friday.
Given the fact that both men are part of the legislative body’s Judiciary Committee, there is a growing possibility that confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, could be affected.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the 49-year-old Lee — who has served in the Senate since 2011 — stated that he had begun experiencing symptoms resembling those of his longtime allergies the previous day and was later tested for COVID-19 “out of an abundance of caution.” He further stated that he will self-isolate for the next 10 days in response to his positive result.
Lee further revealed that he has spoken with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and assured them that he will return to work in time to advance Barrett’s nomination.
Meanwhile, the 60-year-old Tillis tweeted that he is feeling well and will be following the recommendations of his doctor as he, too, remains in isolation for the next 10 days. He further warned his constituents that COVID-19 is extremely contagious and potentially deadly, warning them to wear masks, wash hands and practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the illness in North Carolina.
Per USA Today, Senate Democrats are now arguing that it would be “premature” to continue with Barrett’s confirmation hearings, which were scheduled to begin on October 12.
“It is premature for Chairman Graham to commit to a hearing schedule when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president’s infection and before the White House puts in place a contact tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein — who is the Judiciary Committee’s top-ranking Democrat — in a statement along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
For his part, Graham tweeted that he expects the Barrett hearings to commence as scheduled on the 12th, and he further indicated that senators who have been infected will have the ability to participate virtually.
Meanwhile, as shared by The Inquisitr, the president has reportedly been treated using an experimental therapy from the pharmaceutical company Regeneron in order to help battle his infection. The treatment — which is known as REGN-COV2 — involves using antibodies to help ease COVID-19 symptoms in people who are at a high risk of getting sick.