A crowded rose garden ceremony last Saturday at which Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court candidate was examined after at least seven people in attendance tested positive for coronavirus, including the president himself.
On Friday, former presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway announced that she had tested positive and had “mild” symptoms.
Two Republican senators, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, also announced that they had also tested positive.
Lee, who did not wear a mask to the White House event, said he had “symptoms related to long-standing allergies.” Tillis, who was wearing a mask, said he had no symptoms. Both said they will be quarantined for 10 days – just before Barrett’s confirmatory talks begin on October 12th.
Both senators are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and raise questions about upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings and whether other senators may have been exposed.
Notre Dame University president John Jenkins was later diagnosed with the disease as well.
Trump was hospitalized on Friday and the White House said he would spend “a few days” at Walter Reed’s national military medical center after his diagnosis.
There is growing speculation that the event, which happened on September 25th, could have been the cause of Trump’s infection and possibly a super-spreader event as confirmed cases increase. Barrett said Friday that she had not tested positive for the virus.
The event was Trump’s formal announcement that he would nominate Barrett to fill Progressive Master Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court. Ginsburg, who passed away on September 18, had made it clear that her dying wish was that her seat in the court not be filled “until a new president is appointed,” and Democrats have argued that her replacement will not take place until after the elections Should be confirmed in 2020.
A visual guide created by Politico showed the growing number of Trump officials and allies who have tested positive for coronavirus since attending the ceremony. Many of those who have since announced that they have tested positive for the virus sat close together.
As Igor Bobic of the Huffington Post noted, the chairs for the ceremony weren’t socially distant.
Conway tweeted on Friday that she has a slight cough and is feeling fine. “I have started a quarantine process in consultation with doctors,” she added.
The White House Correspondents Association said an unnamed journalist who attended the event also tested positive, according to ABC News.