October 23, 2020

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson tests positive for COVID-19, becoming the third Republican senator to contract the disease since Friday

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  • Sen. Ron Johnson on Saturday announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the third Republican senator to announce a positive result for the disease since Friday. 
  • Johnson returned to Washington, DC, on September 29 and was exposed to COVID-19 “shortly” afterward, his office said. He previously quarantined for two weeks after he was exposed on September 14, his office said. 
  • The three COVID-19 cases among Republican senators come as the Senate works to confirm the Trump-nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The office of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin on Saturday announced he tested positive for COVID-19, marking him the third Republican senator to announce a positive test since Friday morning.

Johnson was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on September 14, his office said in a statement. While in a 14-day quarantine, Johnson tested negative for the virus twice and did not develop symptoms.

The Wisconsin lawmaker returned to Washington, DC, on September 29 and was exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19 “shortly” afterward, his office said. Johnson, 65, is currently symptom-free and is in isolation, according to the Saturday statement.

Johnson joins two fellow Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — both members on the Senate Judiciary Committee — who both announced on Friday they had tested positive for COVID-19. Both Lee and Tillis attended a White House Rose Garden event for Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination on September 26. At least seven people, including President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who attended the event have since tested positive for the disease.

Johnson did not attend the event because he was still quarantining as a result of his September 14 exposure to the virus.

The president just before 1 a.m. on Friday announced he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus. Trump was later transported on Friday evening from the White House to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, “out of an abundance of caution,” the White House said in a statement.

Several other prominent Republicans, including former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former White House communicators director Hope Hicks, have also tested positive within the last week.

The Senate is currently eyeing to confirm Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but without Lee, Tillis, and Johnson, Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority, would likely not have the votes to confirm her to the court until after they return. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he planned to push ahead to have his committee vote to approve her nomination by October 22, CNN reported.

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