Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is so determined not to know whether or not he is carrying a dangerously contagious disease that he is outright refusing to get tested for it.
And yet on Fox & Friends Monday morning, just minutes before the Senate Judiciary Committee chair was set to begin the hearings to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, Graham insisted that those hearings were completely safe.
When Fox host Steve Doocy noted that the chairs set up behind Judge Barrett were not “socially distant,” Graham let out a small laugh and said he hoped they would be occupied by her family. “This is the biggest day of her life,” he said. “She’s worked all her life for this moment. Wouldn’t you want to share it with your family.”
Then Graham pivoted to the messaging he’s been using in his contentious Senate campaign about the coronavirus. “There are people going to work right now, all over America,” he said. “We’ve taken great pains to make sure this committee room is safe.” The senator claimed that the room has been made “CDC-compliant,” but also suggested that just because there was a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in both the White House and amongst several Republican senators, that doesn’t mean there’s anything to worry about.
For instance, he said, when people test positive at a restaurant, “you don’t shut the restaurant down.” And yet that’s exactly what happened at three establishments that Ivanka Trump had visited in North Carolina just over a week ago. “If a military unit has a positive, you go on about your business safely,” Graham added, despite the fact that just days ago several military leaders were forced to quarantine after exposure to the virus.
“We’ll have a safe hearing space,” he continued. “The question for my Democratic friends is, do you want to take advantage of the hearing or do you want to play politics? That will be up to them.”
Among the Republican senators appearing in person on the committee was Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending what Dr. Anthony Fauci deemed a “superspreader” event in the White House Rose Garden just over two weeks ago. Lee delivered his opening statement without a mask.
While senators—like vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris—are allowed to participate in the hearing virtually, they do need to be present in person to vote for or against Barrett next Thursday. Asked if he anticipates any issues on that front, Graham said, “I see no problem with that. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but so far so good.”
“Again, the COVID is real, it’s dangerous, take it seriously,” he continued, seemingly contradicting President Trump. “But I can’t stress enough to you, there’s cops going to work, there’re waitresses going to work, there are nurses going to work. We need to go to work!”
At no point did any of the three Fox & Friends hosts ask Graham why he refused to contribute to that safety by simply getting tested for COVID-19.