Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) defended his decision to not self-quarantine as he waited for the results of his coronavirus test, in a Monday afternoon statement.
Paul, who became the first senator to test positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, said that both the extensive travel that he and his wife had taken in recent weeks and the higher risks he faces following the removal of part of his lung last year prompted him to take a COVID-19 test upon arriving in Washington, D.C. last Monday.
Paul said that he felt that it was “highly unlikely” that he would test positive. He said he was asymptomatic and did not having contact with anyone who has come down with the virus or exhibited symptoms.
“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” Paul wrote. “The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”
Paul added that he believed his risk factor would be similar to those of his colleagues, given how every member travels by plane across the U.S. multiple times per week, attends large gatherings regularly and that multiple congressional staffers had tested positive weeks ago.
Paul also called for more testing immediately, including those who are asymptomatic. Writing that COVID-19 put him in a “Catch-22 situation,” Paul said he didn’t fit the criteria for testing or quarantine.
Additionally, Paul confirmed in the statement that despite testing positive, he is still feeling fine.
Paul’s latest statement comes on the heels of five Senate Republicans going into quarantine, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who decided to self-quarantine on Sunday evening in light of being in close proximity to Paul shortly before his diagnosis.
On Sunday, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) told reporters during a GOP lunch that he saw Paul swimming at the Senate gym pool in the morning, shortly before his office announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
In response to Moran’s remarks, Paul’s office said in a Sunday afternoon tweet that the Kentucky senator departed the Senate “IMMEDIATELY” upon learning that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Following Paul’s latest statement, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) told CNN on Monday that she was concerned upon hearing about Paul’s actions due to how “his office is right next door to mine.”
After telling CNN that she would leave it up to Paul to decide whether he should apologize to other senators for not self-quarantining sooner, Capito said that Paul knowing he had a test outstanding and still continuing to be in public — which she said is “obviously a reason that he got a test” — “causes a question” for her.