Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis

Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections MORE (R-N.C.), who tested positive for COVID-19 days after attending a White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettProgressives see Breyer retirement as cold comfort Schumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' Breyer to retire from Supreme Court MORE, appeared in person at the second day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing Tuesday after being cleared in a letter from his doctor. 

Tillis walked into the Senate Judiciary Committee room Tuesday wearing a face mask, leaving it on as the hearing began. Senators sat six feet apart, with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes stationed between each of them. 

After CNN reported that Tillis was expected to be at Tuesday’s hearing, the senator released a letter from his personal physician, Dr. Jack Faircloth, who wrote that Tillis met all the requirements for ending isolation. 


Regarding your case, there are 3 criteria that are CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines to meet,” the doctor began. “One must complete 10 days of quarantine from testing positive when they were diagnosed asymptomatically like yourself. Second, one must be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducers. Last, one must have all other symptoms improve.”

He added that as of Monday afternoon, Tillis met each of these criteria. 

In a statement shared on Twitter, Tillis thanked his doctors “who provided guidance throughout my quarantine since testing positive for COVID-19.” 

“I feel very fortunate that I had a mild case with few symptoms, and I want to thank North Carolinians for their prayers and well-wishes,” he added. 

Tillis also said that he had enrolled in the antibody research study through Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health and volunteered to participate in UNC Chapel Hill’s immunology study. 

He also wrote in a follow-up tweet that he looked “forward to participating” in the second day of Barrett’s nomination hearings, along with a photo of him seated and wearing a mask. 

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Put partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Utah) had attended Monday’s hearing following his positive diagnosis after attending Barrett’s White House ceremony. 

Lee said he had been cleared by Congress’s attending physician to show up in the hearing room because he was "no longer contagious.”

“I’m feeling great. Ready to be back in the saddle and excited for today’s hearings to begin. I’ll be participating in person. I’ve gotten the signoff from the Office of the Attending Physician,” he told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Monday.

“I’ve gone through the appropriate number of days and I’ve been keeping my temperature under control and I’m no longer contagious,” he added.

Both Lee and Tillis had announced their COVID-19 diagnoses on Oct. 2 after President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Raskin: Grisham told Jan. 6 panel about 'names that I had not heard before' Grisham says former Trump officials meeting next week 'to try and stop him' MORE had tested positive for the virus. 

Lee appeared in the Hart Senate Office Building hearing room Monday wearing a mask and saying he’ll have immunity from the virus for a while.

“Once you have it, at least for a period of a few months you’re not going to get it again,” he said, adding that his family is “doing great” and is “symptom free.”

— Jordain Carney contributed.