Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressed his and other senators’ concerns following the news that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tested positive for the coronavirus earlier Sunday.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Sunday afternoon, Romney said he was “very unhappy” to hear about Paul’s diagnosis and that he wishes him the “very best.”
“He’s compromised, given health conditions he’s had in the past, so we’ll be praying for him and thinking about him,” Romney said.
Romney added that all senators will seek medical advice regarding what action should be taken to ensure that they don’t spread the coronavirus themselves.
When asked about having lunch with Paul during a Senate GOP lunch on Friday, Romney responded that “we have to determine whether any of us should self-quarantine as a result of being in the same room.”
Later Sunday, Romney announced in a tweet that he is self-quarantining due to sitting next to Paul for “extended periods in recent days.” Romney’s announcement followed Sen. Mike Lee‘s (R-UT) decision to self-quarantine in reaction to Paul’s diagnosis.
Senator Romney’s office issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/tBSx03ZlTr
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) March 22, 2020
Romney’s remarks came shortly before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delayed a procedural vote on a trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package until later Sunday. McConnell’s move came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that House Democrats would introduce their own coronavirus stimulus bill after congressional leaders failed to reach a deal on the package.
Watch Romney’s remarks below:
.@senatorromney: "Very, very unhappy to hear that Rand Paul has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Wish him the very best. He's compromised given health conditions he's had in the past, so we'll be praying for him…all the senators are going to seek medical advice…" pic.twitter.com/tUVuaKBLMm
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 22, 2020
Shortly after Romney’s remarks aired, NBC News reported that senators are contemplating whether they need to depart Capitol Hill immediately and self-quarantine.
Politico reported that Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said in a GOP lunch Sunday 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.
CNN’s Manu Raju also reported on Moran’s remarks during the GOP lunch.
Paul’s office responded to reports of Moran’s remark in a Sunday afternoon tweet, clarifying that the Kentucky senator departed the Senate “IMMEDIATELY” upon learning that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
We want to be clear, Senator Paul left the Senate IMMEDIATELY upon learning of his diagnosis. He had zero contact with anyone & went into quarantine. Insinuations such as those below that he went to the gym after learning of his results are just completely false & irresponsible! https://t.co/yqfxydsXBG
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 22, 2020