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.
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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