Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Senator Ron Johnson was still waiting for the results of his COVID-19 test when he attended Oktoberfest. He says he got the result that he was positive after that.
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson attended an Oktoberfest fundraising dinner Friday night while waiting for test results that would show he was infected with COVID-19.
The Wisconsin Republican chose to attend the bash despite knowing that President Trump and many of his inner circles had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Johnson, who didn’t reveal his diagnosis until Saturday, justified his behavior in comments to Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times by saying he didn̵
“I’m fine, I feel completely normal,” he said on a conference call with reporters, adding that he did not “stick around” to chat over dinner.
Attendees paid between $ 40 for a single ticket and $ 500 for Gold Host status, including two meal tickets, priority seating, and special host recognition. Former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was the main guest of the evening, according to an invitation on the Ozaukee County’s Republican Party Facebook page.
Johnson has previously spoken out against nationwide mask mandates and warned against “overreaction”. We “are not closing our economy because tens of thousands of people are dying on the highways,” he said in March.
The news of Johnson’s diagnosis comes as Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases and deaths rose to record levels. President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is currently receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. His doctors insisted the president was in good shape on Saturday and had not received supplemental oxygen – a claim that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows soon undercut.
“The President’s vital signs for the past 24 hours have been very worrying and the next 48 hours will be critical to his upkeep,” Meadows said “behind the scenes,” before being quickly released online. “We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
First Lady Melania Trump also tested positive for COVID-19 but claims to have only “mild symptoms”. Several Trump insiders who have been in close proximity to the president in the past few days have since tested positive, including senior White House adviser Hope Hicks, former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, Trump 2020 campaign manager , Bill Stepien, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Johnson was the third GOP Senator to test positive for COVID-19 in 24 hours, after Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Thillis (R-NC). He believes he got the virus from his chief of staff Tony Blando, who recently recovered from his own COVID infection. Johnson himself was quarantined for 14 days after Blando tested positive and ended his stay in isolation just days before his own positive result.
“I’m not blaming anyone for it,” he told reporters. “We have a pandemic with a contagious disease … I don’t care where I got it from.”
Several events took place across the country on Saturday as part of the Trump campaign, some indoors and many without a mask.