At a crowded Rose Garden event last Saturday where Donald Trump brought Amy Connie Barrett under scrutiny as his Supreme Court nominee, in the presence of at least seven people, including his wife, after a positive test for the coronavirus.
On Friday, former presidential counsel Kellien Cono announced that he had tested positive and had “mild” symptoms.
Two Republican senators, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, have announced that they too have tested positive.
Lee, who was not wearing a mask at the White House event, said he had “symptoms consistent with chronic allergies.” The masked Tillis said he had no symptoms. Both said they would separate for 10 days – just before Barrett’s confirmation hearing began on October 12.
Both senators have served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, raising questions about the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings and whether additional senators have been exposed.
John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, later identified the disease.
Trump was hospitalized Friday, the White House said, adding that he would spend “a few days” at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after his diagnosis.
Speculation is growing that the Sept. 25 event could be the source of Trump’s infection and possibly a super-spreader event, given the emergence of confirmed cases. Barrett said Friday that he had not tested positive for the virus.
The event was Trump’s official announcement that he was nominating Barrett to fill the seat of progressive champion Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the Supreme Court. Ginsberg, who died Sept. 16, made it clear that his death wish was “his seat on the court will not be filled until a new president is established,” and Democrats argued that his replacement should not be confirmed after the 2020 election. .
A visual guide program produced by Politico featured images of a growing number of Trump officials and allies who have tested positive for coronavirus since attending the event. Since then, many of those who have tested positive for the virus have sat together.
As Effer Bobick of The Huffington Post noted, the chairs for the ceremony were not socially excluded.
All they had to do was distance the chairs. They simply could not do the minimum. People should be fired for this. People will dismiss it through a general administrator. https://t.co/u73aoYQqa4
– igorbobic (@igorbobic) October 3, 2020
Cono tweeted on Friday that he had a mild cough and was fine. “I have started the separate process in consultation with the doctors,” he added.
The White House Press Association said an unnamed journalist who took part in the event also tested positive, ABC News reported.