During a break in Monday morning's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters he feels no need to test senators for coronavirus before the hearing continues.
Many had questions after Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) attended the hearing in person today and delivered his opening statement maskless, despite testing positive for coronavirus 10 days ago.
Graham himself has drawn scrutiny by refusing to take a test prior to a scheduled debate Friday against Jaime Harrison, his Democratic challenger for the South Carolina Senate. The debate was canceled after Graham's refusal.
"All I can say is, I don't know what it's like at CNN, but you can't demand that all of your colleagues be tested before you go to work if there's no reason," Graham told reporters on Monday. "I was tested a week ago Friday. I was negative. I feel fine."
He said the confirmation hearing was being held safely and was CDC-compliant and that he would leave testing up to the discretion of individual members of the Senate. But contrary to CDC guidelines, many senators at the confirmation hearing, including Lee and Graham, removed their masks at various points during the proceedings.
CDC guidelines also indicate that individuals should self-quarantine for up to 14 days after exposure to a COVID-positive person.
While Graham attended the superspreader Rose Garden event to announce Barrett's nomination 16 days ago, it's unclear whether he has been in close contact with other infected individuals in the last 14 days.
But Graham made it clear that the Senate will continue without testing participants.
"We'll move forward," Graham said.
GRAHAM: All I can say is, I don't know what it's like at CNN, but you can't demand that all of your colleagues be tested before you to work if there's no reason. I was tested a week ago Friday, I was negative. I feel fine.
The CDC guidelines do not require quarantine or testing in my case in my case, and I leave it up to every member, but there are millions of Americans going to work today in restaurants, police officers, you name it, who can't demand they won't come to work unless everyone around them is tested, whether they need to or not.
So we're running this hearing safely, it's been set up CDC-compliant, and we'll move forward.
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