The Rose Garden event announcing Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could be ground zero of the outbreak that has rocked the Republican Party
Last Saturday’s White House ceremony in which President Donald Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat is increasingly looking like a COVID-19 super-spreader event.
Hardly any of the guests at the Rose Garden ceremony were wearing masks or social distancing, and many were observed hugging and fist-bumping. Since that time, at least eight attendees, including Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Sens. Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson, Trump aides Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks, and University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins have tested positive for the disease.
Additionally, a Trump administration press staffer and a journalist have also tested positive, but are unidentified to date.
Jenkins, who is a colleague of Barrett, expressed regret in an email to students, faculty, and staff of Notre Dame.
“I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” he wrote.
According to The Guardian, Tillis and Lee, senators of North Carolina and Utah, respectively, plan to quarantine for 10 days, with their isolation period ending just before Barrett’s confirmation hearings are set. to begin on Oct. 12.
Johnson, of Wisconsin, the third senator to announce that he had tested positive, serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Tillis and Lee, and there is speculation that even more senators may have been exposed.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that he intends to move along with the confirmation process, as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it raises the question as to whether the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process will be able to go forward.
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