Sen. Rand Paul, who confirmed Sunday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, spent a week interacting with other lawmakers and aides and using Capitol Hill facilities while awaiting his results, fellow lawmakers griped Monday.
“It’s disappointing that he went to the gym after he knew he didn’t get the results back. That’s very disappointing,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters of Paul’s actions on Capitol Hill Monday morning.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) suggested that Paul’s prior occupation as a doctor should have made him act more mindfully.
“[I] might not have gone to the gym, might not have sat at a meal. You know, maybe I would make arrangements to vote all by myself,” the North Dakota Republican said, “He is a physician himself. So, one would think his ability to assess the risk is pretty good. He calculated wrong.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) tweeted out her disapproval of Paul’s actions.
“I’ve never commented about a fellow Senator’s choices/actions. Never once. This, America, is absolutely irresponsible. You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus,” she wrote.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The Post on Monday that he hopes Paul is recovering well, adding that, “I saw him at lunch, but not in a close sense. I feel like I’m okay. I’m at low risk of exposure.
“He basically needs to let people know what he did from the time he was tested to the time the results came back so people can figure out if they have been exposed,” he continued.
As for if Paul had done so yet, Graham said, “I don’t know.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) called Paul’s behavior “irresponsible,” adding that his diagnosis “just points out that we need to take it seriously. You watch the behavior of people on the floor, some people still don’t seem to get that they shouldn’t be congregating on the floor.”
During a Senate GOP lunch on Sunday, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) informed members of Paul’s diagnosis, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) remarked that he saw the Kentucky Republican at the Senate gym that morning, using the swimming pool.
A spokesperson for Moran confirmed that the senator did see Paul using the facilities just hours before the Senate luncheon.
Paul had also been attending Senate lunches throughout the week, and was seen with lawmakers including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Both Utah Republicans opted to self-quarantine and get tested for the rapidly-spreading virus after learning of Paul’s diagnosis. Rubio, however, will not be doing so.
“Senator Rubio shared the duration and nature of his interactions with Senator Paul with the Office of Attending Physician. It was determined they were low-risk interactions that do not require for self quarantine,” a spokesman for Rubio told The Post of his decision.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.) also expressed confidence that he could remain safe from exposure despite Paul’s diagnosis.
“We’re not all that close,” he joked.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) told The Post that he had not encountered Paul over the past couple of weeks.
In response to all the backlash, Paul released a second statement defending his actions prior to getting his Covid-19 diagnosis.
“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. 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.”
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