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Was the White House unveiling of SCOTUS nominees Amy Coney Barrett the superspreader event?


A spate of positive coronavirus test results leaked Friday, including the fact that the president has a common connection: the celebratory event at the White House where Donald Trump brought out his Supreme Court candidate, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The September 26 meeting, which was full of textualism and conservative jurisprudence as well as a family-oriented national introduction to Barrett, also silently harbored the deadly virus that has found its way across the nation.

Among those attending the outdoor announcement who were supposed to test positive were President and First Lady Melania Trump, both of whom stood on stage for the official introduction. The first lady also sat next to two of Judge Barrett's seven children who had flown to Washington for the event.

As of Friday, four people who tested positive for the coronavirus were identified in the White House announcement on Saturday via Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee for President Trump. 1. Donald Trump 2. Melania Trump 3. President of Notre Dame University John Jenkins 4. Utah Senator Mike Lee

First Lady Melania Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the results released Thursday, sat next to one of Barrett's children

First Lady Melania Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the results released Thursday, sat next to one of Barrett's children

With few masks worn to protect against the coronavirus, Republican Senators joined other guests on Saturday when Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the 7th Circuit Court as his candidate for the Supreme Court

With few masks worn to protect against the coronavirus, Republican senators joined other guests on Saturday when Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the 7th Circuit Court as his candidate for the Supreme Court

Attorney General Bill Barr was seen at Saturday's event in the Rose Garden shaking hands, now wearing a mask, as he bid farewell to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and others

Attorney General Bill Barr was seen at Saturday's event in the rose garden shaking hands, now wearing a mask, as he bid farewell to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and others

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to push ahead with the Supreme Court appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to push ahead with the Supreme Court appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republican Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, who announced on Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, sat just two rows back in the aisle directly behind Vice President Mike Pence. Pence tested negative on Friday, his office said.

Notre Dame University President John Jenkins, who was also there, tested positive. This was announced on Friday. Barrett taught law at the school.

With new information arriving quickly and only part of the incubation period for the disease, it was impossible to tell immediately whether the president and the others were infected on Saturday – or possibly inadvertently relaying it to others.

Close advisor and advisor to President Hope Hicks seems to be in the background among a crowd of staff and supporters.

None of those who later tested positive were seen wearing masks, and few of the participants were.

Immediately after the event – where Republicans were almost ready to declare victory when they got Barrett's nomination through – Trump flew to Harrisburg aboard Air Force One, another possible vector of infection.

The aircraft has narrow spaces and common spaces. The President came to the back of the plane to speak. This comes from a pool report submitted by a DailyMail.com reporter who was out with the president.

Although the content of his comments was confidential, he spent about ten minutes studying the press.

Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden, where he stood next to the First Lady, Barrett, and their children

Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden, where he stood next to the First Lady, Barrett, and their children

Advisor to President Kellyanne Conway (C) and Attorney General William Barr (R) chat with guests in the Rose Garden after President Donald Trump found Judge of the 7th District Court Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his candidate for the Supreme Court of the White had unveiled House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Advisor to President Kellyanne Conway (C) and Attorney General William Barr (R) chat with guests in the Rose Garden after President Donald Trump found Judge of the 7th District Court Amy Coney Barrett (48) as his candidate for the Supreme Court of the White had unveiled House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was spotted at the event on Saturday breaking social distancing guidelines and not wearing a mask

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was spotted at the event on Saturday breaking social distancing guidelines and not wearing a mask

Even in the rose garden, very few guests were seen wearing masks on Saturdays, and those who did so were still in close contact with other guests

Even in the rose garden, very few guests were seen wearing masks on Saturdays, and those who did so were still in close proximity to other guests

At least 100 people were present in the White House rose garden on Saturday. To date, four people, including the president and first lady, have tested positive for coronavirus

At least 100 people were present in the White House rose garden on Saturday. To date, four people, including the president and first lady, have tested positive for coronavirus

Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed (C) shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the event on Saturday

Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed (C) shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the event on Saturday

Bill Barr chats with guests and shakes hands without a mask at the "Superspreader" event on Saturday. His COVID-19 status is unknown

Bill Barr chats with guests and shakes hands without a mask at the "Superspreader" event on Saturday. His COVID-19 status is unknown

Lee was videotaped at the event, conversing amiably with guests, mask in hand even though he was not wearing it.

He was caught on video kissing and hugging other guests.

Lee, a key ally of President Donald Trump, announced on Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The news, just the latest harrowing news in a coronavirus bombing day, immediately cast doubt on the Senate's GOP's intense confirmation plan for the Supreme Court.

Lee is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and met its members for a hearing with James Comey on Wednesday.

In addition to the possibility that its members – two of whom are 87 years old – are recommended to quarantine, the Senate has not voted on whether the hearings of the SCOTUS candidate can be held remotely.

Lee was among supporters who joined Trump and Barrett at the White House on Saturday as Trump hosted a ceremony for the announcement.

He also reportedly met the judge on Tuesday – with the Judiciary Committee planning to meet within days to hold a vote before the election.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He met with Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He met with Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday

Lee tweeted that he took a Covid-19 test on Thursday and that the test was positive. He didn't say exactly when he got the results or why he was tested on Thursday

Lee tweeted that he took a Covid-19 test on Thursday and that the test was positive. He didn't say exactly when he got the results or why he was tested on Thursday

Mike Lee on Saturday: The Republican Senator from Utah was among the guests when Amy Coney Barrett was introduced to Trump's Supreme Court on Saturday at the White House - where he welcomed two more guests

Mike Lee on Saturday: The Republican Senator from Utah was among the guests when Amy Coney Barrett was introduced to Trump's Supreme Court on Saturday at the White House – where he welcomed two more guests

Effusive and maskless: This was Mike Lee on Saturday - now he's being quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus

Effusive and maskless: This was Mike Lee on Saturday – now he's being quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus

Lee said in a statement that he conducted a test "out of caution" after developing symptoms similar to allergies.

"Unlike the test I took while visiting the White House a few days ago, yesterday's test was positive," Lee said in a statement. "On the advice of the attending Senate doctor, I will remain in isolation for the next 10 days."

He said he had assured party leaders that he would be "back to work in time" to work with them to "advance the Barrett Supreme Court nomination."

Video According to Saturday's announcement, Lee was shaking hands with a medical mask and speaking to supporters at the White House.

Lee tweeted a photo of himself with Barrett, both exposed, in his Senate office this week.

The New York Times reported that Lee met with Barrett Tuesday when she was doing the rounds with Republicans to try to secure her nomination.

The judiciary is expected to meet on October 12 on the nomination to start the hearings. Senator Dianne Feinsein (D-Calif.) Has officially requested a delay. Democrats howled at efforts to hold out the nomination so close to the election after the GOP blocked President Obama's election, Judge Merrick Garland, for nine months at the end of Obama's tenure.

BGUK_2004435 - Washington, DC - United States President Donald J. Trump arrives with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Judge Barrett, if confirmed, will replace the late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Pictured: President Donald J. Trump, Judge Amy Coney Barrett BACKGRID UK SEPTEMBER 26, 2020 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com * UK customers - Pictures with children Please pixelate the face before publishing *

White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios on Friday that Barrett "follows CDC guidelines and best practices, including social distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent hand washing".

At Saturday's event, Trump stepped in alongside Amy Coney Barrett, followed by the First Lady family and Barrett

At Saturday's event, Trump stepped in alongside Amy Coney Barrett, followed by the First Lady family and Barrett

Republicans on Capitol Hill vowed to push ahead with the Supreme Court appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett despite coming into contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday.

Since then, the President and First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19, and Senate Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer has called for the White House to "immediately enter into a contact tracing regime" that includes Barrett and anyone who may step on it has contact with.

Axios reported that Barrett tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday morning when GOP officials told the publication that Barrett's verification process is proceeding as planned.

But Barrett also met with Utah Senator Mike Lee on Tuesday – and he announced on Friday morning that a COVID test came back positive on Thursday morning.

Republican Senators, including Lindsey Graham (right), chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have vowed to continue the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett (left) despite Barrett's close contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Republican Senators, including Lindsey Graham (right), chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have vowed to continue the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett (left) despite Barrett's close contact with President Donald Trump on Saturday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday morning that he had called President Donald Trump, who asked about Amy Coney Barrett's nomination. "Full speed ahead," McConnell told Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday morning that he had called President Donald Trump, who asked about Amy Coney Barrett's nomination. "Full speed ahead," McConnell told Trump

Following the first report from Axios, both Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, said Friday that the sessions would continue.

“I just finished a great phone call with President Trump. He's in a good mood and we've talked about business – especially how impressed the Senators are with Judge Barrett's qualifications, ”McConnell tweeted.

"Full speed ahead for the fair, thorough, and timely trial that the candidate, the court and the country deserve," said McConnell.

Graham also said he spoke to the President Friday morning and was asked by Trump about Barrett's confirmation.

"We are on the right track, we are in a good place, it is confirmed and we will start on October 12th," Graham told the president.

Even Lee, after testing positive, vowed to return to his work on the judicial committee to get Barrett's nomination over the line.

Part of the traditional process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice is face-to-face meetings with U.S. Senators.

Most are at risk for COVID-19 due to their advanced age.

White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios on Friday that Barrett "follows CDC guidelines and best practices, including social distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent hand washing".

Barrett's confirmation hearings provide a virtual option for any senator who feels they are at high risk.

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