Updated Mar 23, 2020 - Health
Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced on Twitter Sunday.
Why it matters: He's the first U.S. senator to test positive. According to his office, Paul is asymptomatic and was not aware of making direct contact with an infected person.
- Paul, a licensed physician and notorious deficit hawk, was the only senator to vote against a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency coronavirus funding earlier this month.
- He sought to introduce an amendment that would take the funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but it was voted down 80-16.
- Paul may be considered a high-risk patient for coronavirus. In August 2019, the senator tweeted that he had part of his lung removed during surgery after it was damaged in a 2017 assault by his neighbor.
What they're saying:
"He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person. He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul."— Rand Paul's office on Twitter
- President Trump tweeted Sunday evening that it is "not good" that his "friend (always there when I’ve needed him!)" has contracted the virus. "He is strong and will get better," Trump said. "Just spoke to him and he was in good spirits."
What to watch: The Senate is set to vote on a massive "Phase 3" coronavirus relief package on Monday. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have proposed a resolution calling for remote voting, which could potentially be prioritized now that a senator has officially tested positive for the virus.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.