COVID-Infected GOP Senators Could Threaten Trump's SCOTUS Nomination - 2020-10-04
Despite being at least the third Republican senator to test positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin still doesn't think mask mandates are a good idea. On Saturday, hours after announcing he had contracted the coronavirus, the GOP lawmaker reportedly said that masks may help reduce the risk of infection but are "certainly not a cure-all" and should be an "individual responsibility." Johnson's comments come a day after Republicans who control the legislature moved to strike down Democratic Governor Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate. Meanwhile, the swing state has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent days, surpassing daily records for new cases and deaths and raising concerns over Wisconsin's hospital capacity.
On Friday night, after Johnson had taken a test but while he was still awaiting results, he attended the Ozaukee County Republican Party Oktoberfest Dinner, telling the Capital Times that he wore his mask until his remarks, maintained "at least 12 feet from anybody as [he was] speaking," and quickly departed after giving his speech. Johnson also said there was no need for him to self-isolate pending results, as the CDC recommends, because he was asymptomatic. "I'm not sick," he said. "I have no symptoms. I certainly didn't anticipate testing positive, so there was no reason to quarantine."
Johnson is one of three Senate Republicans to report positive test results during what has been a chaotic weekend on Capitol Hill, beginning early Friday morning with Donald Trump's Twitter announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump had contracted the coronavirus. The two other GOP senators who have tested positive, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, are both members of the Judiciary Committee that is scheduled to begin considering Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination on October 12. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that, in light of the trio of infected senators, the full Senate return will be postponed to October 19, a two-week delay, he made no schedule changes to the confirmation process. "Certainly all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings," McConnell said, per Politico.