Health & Fitness

Ron Johnson is the third Republican senator to check constructive for coronavirus in two days


Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, DC, the United States on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

Toni Sandys | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wisconsin's Ron Johnson is the third Republican Senator to test positive for Covid-19 after President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and the First Lady had a positive diagnosis.

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Who attended the Supreme Court nomination announcement of Amy Coney Barrett at the White House last Saturday, also tested positive for the virus. Both are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the body that will hold hearings on their nominations.

Another Republican Senator, Josh Hawley from Missouri, who attended the rose garden was tested Saturday. Hawley confirmed on Twitter that his results were negative. He is also a member of the Judiciary Committee.

It is unclear where Johnson caught the virus, but he was exposed to someone earlier this week who his office has since tested positive for the virus.

Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Poses a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Police Use of Violence and Community Relations" in the Dirksen Senate office building in Washington, DC on June 16, 2020.

Tom Williams | Reuters

Senator’s diagnoses could potentially influence the Senate’s plan to get Barrett’s endorsement ahead of the November 3 presidential election. The GOP has a 53-47 lead in the chamber, and two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have opposed voting on the nomination before election day.

Democrats call for Barrett's hearing to be postponed for confirmation, despite Republicans vowing to push the vote. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Friday that the hearing will be held on October 12th as planned.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said Saturday the Senate will not fully return until after October 19 due to health concerns, but the confirmation hearings for Barrett will continue as planned.

"Since May, the Judiciary Committee has used a hybrid method where some senators physically appear at their hearings while other members attend virtually," McConnell said in a statement. "The committee has been using this format successfully for many months while protecting the health and safety of everyone involved."

Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate minority, has criticized the Republicans for pushing the hearing forward.

"The decision to put the Senate on hold for two weeks after at least three Republican senators tested positive for COVID-19 makes it clear that the Senate cannot continue operating as usual as the virus remains widespread," Schumer said in a statement on Saturday . "If it is too dangerous to have the Senate in session, it is also too dangerous for the committee hearings to continue."

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) asks James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing investigating the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation in Washington DC, the United States, on September 30, 2020.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

The number of people in Trump's orbit who tested positive for Covid-19 is growing.

Several people who were at the Rose Garden's announcement by the Supreme Court last week tested positive. Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager and former top advisor Kellyanne Conway, tested positive on Friday.

Trump was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday "as a precaution" after his coronavirus diagnosis and is expected to stay there for several days.

The president has taken his first dose of remdesivir, an experimental antiviral therapy.


Katherine Clark