GOP Sen. Lee tests positive for COVID-19, recently met with SCOTUS nominee Barrett

Utah senator Lee revealed today that he's also tested positive for the virus after a trip to the White House

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As the country grapples to respond to President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, it has now been confirmed that Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has also tested positive for COVID-19.

Friday, Lee explained in a statement he took a coronavirus test on Thursday after experiencing symptoms similar to those he has previously experienced due to allergies. 

“Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive. On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days,” read the statement. 

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Senators Meet With Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett
Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett (L), President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) as she begins a series of meetings to prepare for her confirmation hearing in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol on September 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

This now makes him the third senator confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, with his announcement coming just hours after the president disclosed that he and first lady Melania Trump had both tested positive for COVID-19.

Given the timing of their disclosures, many have noted that Lee was at the White House last Saturday. Tuesday, he also met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, attended several closed-door GOP caucus lunches, and was present at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee’s business meeting.

Considering how active he’s been in the Capitol this week, Lee’s COVID diagnosis highlights a need for increased safety protocols for lawmakers.

The Judiciary Committee, which Lee is a part of, is expected to start its hearings for Barrett’s confirmation on Oct. 12. In his statement Lee stated he still planned to be in attendance, explaining, “I have spoken with Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham and assured them I will be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the committee and then to the full Senate.”

Echoing the sentiments of pushing forward even in the face of illness, On Friday, Sen. McConnell made it clear that Coney Barrett’s nomination remains a priority.

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“Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett,” McConnell tweeted. “Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.” 

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