Saturday, 3 October 2020

Second senator tests positive after 'White House Amy Coney Barrett superspreader event': Thom Tillis reveals he's got COVID after Trump, Melania, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Senator Mike Lee and Notre Dame president who were at ceremony came down with it

 A flurry of positive coronavirus test results that emerged Friday including the president's share a common nexus: the celebratory White House event where Donald Trump rolled out his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The September 26 gathering – which was filled with peans to textualism and conservative jurisprudence, as well as a family-centric national introduction to Barrett – also was silently harboring the deadly virus that has ripped its way through the nation.

Among those attending the outdoor announcement who would test positive were the president and first lady Melania Trump, who both appeared onstage for the formal introduction. The first lady also was seated next to two of Judge Barrett's seven children, who flew to Washington for the event. 

Kellyanne Conway, who on Friday confirmed her positive test result, was sitting directly behind the first lady. 

Seven people have now tested positive for coronavirus, after attending Saturday's Rose Garden event. They are 1: Donald Trump, 2: Melania Trump, 3: University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, 4: Senator Mike Lee, 5: Senator Thom Tillis, 6: Kellyanne Conway, and Hope Hicks (not pictured)

Seven people have now tested positive for coronavirus, after attending Saturday's Rose Garden event. They are 1: Donald Trump, 2: Melania Trump, 3: University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, 4: Senator Mike Lee, 5: Senator Thom Tillis, 6: Kellyanne Conway, and Hope Hicks (not pictured)

First lady Melania Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 in results made public Thursday, was seated next to one of Barrett's children

First lady Melania Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 in results made public Thursday, was seated next to one of Barrett's children

With few wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus, Republican senators joined other guests Saturday as Trump introduced 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his nominee to the Supreme Court

With few wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus, Republican senators joined other guests Saturday as Trump introduced 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his nominee to the Supreme Court

Attorney General Bill Barr was seen at Saturday's event in the Rose Garden shaking hands and not wearing a mask as he said good bye former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and others

Attorney General Bill Barr was seen at Saturday's event in the Rose Garden shaking hands and not wearing a mask as he said good bye former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and others 

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to press forward with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite her coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to press forward with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite her coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Amy Coney Barrett and her family exit Rose Garden after SCOTUS pick
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time0:45
Fullscreen
Need Text

Republican Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who announced Friday he had tested positive for coronavirus Thursday, was seated just two rows back, on the aisle, directly behind Vice President Mike Pence. Pence tested negative Friday, his office said.

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis has become the second senator to test positive following Saturday's event

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis has become the second senator to test positive following Saturday's event

University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, who was also there, tested positive, it was revealed Friday. Barrett taught law at the school. 

Also testing positive was North Carolina senator Thom Tillis, who was at the event. 

With new information coming in rapidly, and only a range of the incubation period for the disease, it was impossible to immediately tell if the Saturday event is where the president and the others became infected – or perhaps unwittingly spread it to others.

Close aide and counselor to the president Hope Hicks appears to have been pictured standing among a crowd of staff and supporters in the back.

None of those who later tested positive were seen wearing masks, and few of the attendees were. 

Immediately after the event – where Republicans were nearly ready to declare victory on pushing through Barrett's nomination – Trump flew to Harrisburg aboard Air Force One, another possible vector for infection.

The plane features tight quarters and shared spaces. The president came to the back of the plane to talk, according to a pool report filed by a DailyMail.com reporter who was traveling with the president.

Although the content of his remarks were off the record, he engaged in back-and-forth with the press for about ten minutes. 

Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden where he stood next to the First Lady, Barrett and her children

Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden where he stood next to the First Lady, Barrett and her children

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (C) tested positive, she confirmed on Friday. She is pictured with Attorney General William Barr (R) talking with guests in the Rose Garden after President Donald Trump introduced 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his nominee to the Supreme Court at the White House

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (C) tested positive, she confirmed on Friday. She is pictured with Attorney General William Barr (R) talking with guests in the Rose Garden after President Donald Trump introduced 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his nominee to the Supreme Court at the White House

Kellyanne Conway on Friday night confirmed her positive COVID-19 test and said she was 'feeling fine'

Kellyanne Conway on Friday night confirmed her positive COVID-19 test and said she was 'feeling fine' 

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie was seen at Saturday's event flouting social distancing guidelines and not wearing mask

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie was seen at Saturday's event flouting social distancing guidelines and not wearing mask 

Very few guests at Saturdays even in the Rose Garden were seen wearing masks, and those who did were still in close quarters with other guests

Very few guests at Saturdays even in the Rose Garden were seen wearing masks, and those who did were still in close quarters with other guests 

At least 100 people were in attendance Saturday in the White House Rose Garden. So far, seven people including the President and First Lady have tested positive for coronavirus

At least 100 people were in attendance Saturday in the White House Rose Garden. So far, seven people including the President and First Lady have tested positive for coronavirus 

Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed (C) shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the event Saturday

Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed (C) shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the event Saturday 

Bill Barr chats with guests and shakes hands, without a mask, at Saturday's 'superspreader' event. His COVID-19 status is unknown

Bill Barr chats with guests and shakes hands, without a mask, at Saturday's 'superspreader' event. His COVID-19 status is unknown 

Lee was captured on video at the event chatting amiably with guests, mask in hand, although he wasn't wearing it. 

He was captured on video kissing and hugging other guests effusively. 

Lee, a key ally of President Donald Trump's revealed Friday he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The news, just the latest jarring news on a day of coronavirus bombshells, immediately threw the Senate GOP's intense confirmation schedule for the Supreme Court into doubt.


Lee is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and met its members on Wednesday for a hearing with James Comey.

As well as the possibility that its members - two of whom are 87 - may be advised to quarantine, the Senate has not voted on whether the SCOTUS nominee's hearings can be held remotely.  

Lee was among the throngs of supporters who joined Trump and Barrett at the White House Saturday as Trump staged a ceremony for the announcement. 

He also reportedly met the judge on Tuesday – with the Judiciary Committee planning to meet within days with the aim of setting up a floor vote before the election.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) revealed that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He met Tuesday with Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) revealed that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He met Tuesday with Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Lee tweeted that he took a Covid-19 test Thursday and that the 'test came back positive.' He did not say precisely when he got the results it or why he got tested Thursday

Lee tweeted that he took a Covid-19 test Thursday and that the 'test came back positive.' He did not say precisely when he got the results it or why he got tested Thursday

Mike Lee on Saturday: The Utah Republican senator was among the guests as Amy Coney Barrett was unveiled at the White House on Saturday as Trump's Supreme Court nominee - where he enthusiastically greeted two other guests

Mike Lee on Saturday: The Utah Republican senator was among the guests as Amy Coney Barrett was unveiled at the White House on Saturday as Trump's Supreme Court nominee - where he enthusiastically greeted two other guests

Effusive, and maskless: This was Mike Lee on Saturday - now he is quarantining after testing positive for coronavirus

Effusive, and maskless: This was Mike Lee on Saturday - now he is quarantining after testing positive for coronavirus 

Lee said in a statement he took a test 'out of an abundance of caution' after experiencing symptoms akin to allergies. 

'Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday's test came back positive,' Lee said in a statement. 'On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days.' 

He says he assured party leaders he will be 'back to work in time' to join them in 'advancing the Supreme Court nomination' of Barrett. 

Video from Saturday's announcement shows Lee, with a medical mask in his hand, shaking hands and speaking with supporters at the White House. 

Lee tweeted out a photo of himself with Barrett, both unmasked, at his Senate office this week.  

The New York Times reported that Lee met with Barrett on Tuesday, as she made the rounds with Republicans to try to secure her nomination. 

Judiciary is set to meet on the nomination to begin hearings on October 12. Sen. Dianne Feinsein (D-Calif.), has formally asked for a delay. Democrats howled at the effort to jam through the nomination so close to the election after the GOP stalled President Obama's pick, Judge Merrick Garland, for nine months at the end of Obama's term.  

BGUK_2004435 - Washington, DC - US President Donald J. Trump arrives with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Judge Barrett, if confirmed, will replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Pictured: President Donald J. Trump, Judge Amy Coney Barrett BACKGRID UK 26 SEPTEMBER 2020 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*

White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios Friday that Barrett, 'is following CDC guidance and best practices, including social distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequently washes hands'

At Saturday's event, Trump walked in next to Amy Coney Barrett, followed by the First Lady and Barrett's family

At Saturday's event, Trump walked in next to Amy Coney Barrett, followed by the First Lady and Barrett's family 

Amy Coney Barrett meets with Sen. Grassley ahead of hearings
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time1:14
Fullscreen
Need Text

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to press forward with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite her coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday. 

Since then, the president and first lady have tested positive for COVID-19 and the top Senate Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer, has demanded that the White House 'immediately conduct a contact tracing regime' that includes Barrett and anyone she may have come in contact with. 

Axios reported that Barrett tested negative for the coronavirus Friday morning, as GOP aides told the publication that Barrett's confirmation process will continue as scheduled. 

But Barrett also met with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Tuesday - and he announced Friday morning that he had a COVID test come back positive Thursday morning. 

Republican senators, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (right), have vowed to press on with Judge Amy Coney Barrett's (left) nomination for the Supreme Court, despite Barrett being in close contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republican senators, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (right), have vowed to press on with Judge Amy Coney Barrett's (left) nomination for the Supreme Court, despite Barrett being in close contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday morning that he had spoken on the phone with President Donald Trump who had asked about Amy Coney Barrett's nomination. 'Full steam ahead,' McConnell reported to Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday morning that he had spoken on the phone with President Donald Trump who had asked about Amy Coney Barrett's nomination. 'Full steam ahead,' McConnell reported to Trump 

After Axios' initial report, both Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that meetings would proceed.

'Just finished a great phone call with President Trump. He’s in good spirits and we talked business - especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett,' McConnell tweeted.  

'Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve,' McConnell said. 

Graham also said he had spoken with the president Friday morning and was asked by Trump about the Barrett confirmation. 

'We’re on track, we’re in a good spot, she’s going to get confirmed and we’ll start on Oct the 12th,' Graham said he told the president. 

Even Lee, after testing positive, vowed to return to his work on the Judiciary Committee in order to get Barrett's nomination over the line. 

Part of the traditional nominating process for a Supreme Court justice is in-person meetings with U.S. senators. 

Most are at risk for COVID-19 because of their advanced ages.   

White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios Friday that Barrett, 'is following CDC guidance and best practices, including social distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequently washes hands.' 

Barrett's confirmation hearings will have a virtual option for any senator who feels high-risk. 

Post a comment

Start typing and press Enter to search