Amy Coney Barrett hearing: Senator Mike Lee, who tested positive for Covid, attends judiciary session

The senator from Utah gave his opening statement on Monday with no mask

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 12 October 2020 16:03
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Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who tested positive for Covid-19 ten days ago, attended the confirmation hearing on Monday for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The Republican lawmaker was wearing a mask and said that he felt “great” when he entered the chamber. But he did not respond when asked if he was tested for the virus on Monday.

He was seen moving around the floor, chatting with other committee members, and removed his mask when seated and when giving his opening statement.

The Capitol’s attending physician reportedly cleared the senator to attend the hearing.

"I’ve gotten the sign-off from the Office of the Attending Physician, I’ve gone through the appropriate number of days... and I’m no longer contagious," said Sen. Lee in an interview with conservative radio show host, Hugh Hewitt, early on Monday.

Mr Lee attended the White House ceremony on 26 September to announce Judge Barrett’s nomination to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court

Footage from the Rose Garden that Saturday, widely acknowledged as a “super-spreader” event, shows Senator Lee enthusiastically hugging several people while not wearing a mask.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the judiciary committee, opened proceedings saying: “As to the hearing room, I doubt if there’s any room in the country that’s been given more attention and detail to make sure it’s CDC compliant.”

The presence of Senator Lee assures that the Republicans will have a quorum present to move ahead with votes in committee.

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, another committee member who also tested positive for the virus, is no longer experiencing symptoms and has returned to work virtually.

He told Fox News that he expects to be present to vote.

Judge Barrett wore a black mask throughout the opening statements, briefly removing it to take a drink of water.

Senate rules do not require mask wearing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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