Saturday, 3 October 2020

Seven are now infected after 'Amy Coney Barrett superspreader event' amid fears that it's only a matter of time before more of Trump's senior team develop COVID

 Seven people who attended Amy Coney Barrett's ceremonial nomination to the Supreme Court on Saturday have now tested positive for COVID-19, giving rise to fears that it was a 'super-spreader event'.

The September 26 gathering attracted around 100 people - many of them not wearing face masks; all sitting close.

Attendees were photographed hugging, shaking hands and chatting without face masks.

Donald Trump, his wife Melania, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, two senators - Mike Lee from Utah and Thom Tillis from North Carolina - plus the president of Notre Dame university, John Jenkins, have now all tested positive for COVID-19.

Many of the other high-profile figures who attended have not yet been given the all-clear.  

Among them are Bill Barr, the attorney general; Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey; and Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host.

All were seen in close proximity to infected people, and are yet to confirm their negative test results. 

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


Mike Lee, the Republican senator for Utah, one of two senators in attendance to announce Friday he had tested positive for coronavirus, was seated just two rows back, on the aisle, directly behind Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen. 

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

Seen at the event was a roll call of senior White House officials, top Republicans, Cabinet members and campaign figures.

Eugene Scalia, the labor secretary and son of late Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia, was in attendance, along with his mother Maureen. 

Alex Azar, the health secretary, was present, as was White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Pat Cipollone, the chief counsel.

Six of the 12 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were present - Michael Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Ben Sasse, Josh Hawley, Thom Tillis, and Mike Crapo. 

Two have tested positive.

Senators Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, were in attendance, with Loeffler sitting close to Conway and Lee.

Billy Graham, the evangelical pastor and son of Franklin Graham, was present, as was Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski. 

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, was seen chatting animatedly to Conway.

Christie was helping the president prepare for the debate, along with several people who have since tested positive - campaign manager Bill Stepien, Hicks, Conway and Trump - and several people whose status is unknown - among them Rudy Giuliani, Jason Miller and Stephen Miller.  

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. 

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 

Mike 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.  

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 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.   

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 - a move backed by Chuck Schumer, the minority leader. 

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 


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

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.   

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. 

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 

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.  

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