Republican Senator Mike Lee, who tested positive for Covid-19 less than two weeks ago, has sparked total uproar online after showing up at the US Capitol for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court hearings without wearing a mask.
A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lee is thus required to consider the nomination of Coney Barrett to the highest bench in the land.
The Capitol’s attending physician, Brian Monahan, did not reveal if the senator was still coronavirus-positive, but released a letter Monday saying he “did not recommend” any further tests. He said Lee’s symptoms have “improved” enough, noted it had been over 10 days since the onset of his symptoms and said he met the criteria to end his isolation.
The Republican senator shouted “I feel great!” to the reporters gathered in the building before the hearing began – but many online didn’t feel so great about his attendance.
In fact, it would seem that neither the doctor’s note, nor Lee’s own declaration of health were enough for tweeters to refrain from chastising him. Some called Lee “incompetent” for failing “to protect those around him.”
Mike Lee tested positive just 10 days ago and he won’t even wear a mask to protect those around him. https://t.co/0R4cpy9umN
Mike Lee is still sitting in the Senate chamber, surrounded by men over 70, without a mask. It’s hard to put into words how just plain awful and incompetent these people are.
CBS News’ Grace Segers pointed out the undeniable irony in Lee attending the hearing in-person, while another senator, Texas Republican Ted Cruz, “went into self-quarantine after coming into contact with Mike Lee.”
Ted Cruz is appearing remotely – he went into self-quarantine after coming into contact with Mike Lee. Lee, on the other hand, is at the hearing in person.
Many commenters speculated that the proceedings could turn into the “second Barrett superspreader event” given that the judge’s nomination announcement at the White House last month was already described as a superspreader event by top doctor Anthony Fauci.
In that twist of fate, multiple attendees to the Rose Garden event later tested positive for Covid-19. The list notably included Lee, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania, all three of whom tested positive later that week.
Many also slammed GOP Senator Lindsey Graham for not socially distancing himself from colleague Lee at the event. Some have been speculating (though, without evidence) that Graham was at some stage positive for Covid-19 after he refused to get tested before a debate with his election challenger.
with mike lee going mask off and lindsay graham potentially infected there’s a chance this hearing becomes the second barrett superspreader event
Why isn’t Graham socially distancing from covid patient Mike Lee? Does Graham think he can’t get infected because he already is infected? https://t.co/kXfAVYUkgH
Republicans have the votes to confirm Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, but they only have a small voting majority to do it. The Senate requires in-person voting – and if even a few Republicans were unable to vote, the Democrats could potentially thwart her confirmation.
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