The Supreme Court confirmation for Amy Coney Barrett is moving forward as planned despite revelations of the coronavirus at the White House with President Trump testing positive, top Republicans said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday morning that he’d just spoken over the phone with Trump. “He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has made no changes to the timeline for Barrett’s confirmation hearing, set to take place on Oct. 12.
“Supreme Court hearings continue on. Full speed ahead,” Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop told Fox News.
Graham also spoke to Trump Friday morning who is quarantining at the White House and tweeted that the commander-in-chief is “in good spirits” and “very engaged in the upcoming hearing regarding Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Barrett.”
McConnell, R-Ky., also reiterated Friday the schedule stands and Barrett should be confirmed out of the committee by Oct. 22 and then head to a floor vote of the full Senate.
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt Friday morning, McConnell also said he doesn’t anticipate any event that will derail the process, such as was the case with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, when Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward with sexual assault allegations.
“This is a woman who’s led an extraordinary life. She’s got seven children – two of them adopted – one with special needs,” McConnell told Hewitt. “She’s led an incredibly outstanding life with a wonderful family. We don’t anticipate any kind of unanticipated event that could throw us off schedule.”
Barrett has been in close contact with senators and the White House all week as part of her confirmation process. The White House said Friday she is tested daily and her result Friday came back negative.
President Donald Trump walks along the Colonnade with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
She’s met with 32 senators over the past three days on Capitol Hill.
Asked whether any senators have the virus, McConnell said: “Well, we don’t know. But you know, it can sneak up on you as it obviously did with the President and First Lady, ” McConnell said. “So we’re being very careful and keep an eye out on everyone.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House must prompt an immediate “contact tracing regime,” including with Barrett and anyone the judge had contact with including senators. He also called for better coronavirus protocols at the Senate.
“This episode demonstrates that the Senate needs a testing and contact tracing program for Senators, staff, and all who work in the Capitol complex,” Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said in a statement. “We simply cannot allow the administration’s cavalier attitude to adversely affect this branch of government. It is imperative that all results be made public in order to contain a possible outbreak and so we can determine the need for Senators and staff to quarantine or self-isolate.”
McConnell said the president’s positive coronavirus test underscores the need for social distancing or remote hearings at the Judiciary Committee hearing for Barrett later this month.
“This sort of underscores, I think, the need to do that,” McConnell said. “And I think every precaution needs to be taken because we don’t anticipate any Democratic support at all, either in committee or in the full Senate, and therefore everybody needs to be in an all-hands-on-deck mindset.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.