Sen. Chuck Grassley gets COVID a month after refusing to get tested


The Republican senator announced that he has tested positive.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced Tuesday that he had "been exposed to the coronavirus" and would immediately quarantine while awaiting results of his test.

Later that day, he announced that he had tested positive.

Grassley, 87, is the longest-serving Republican senator, and, as president pro tempore of the Senate, is third in line for the presidency.

Being tested for the virus after possible exposure is exactly what people are supposed to do, according guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But that is not what Grassley did just a month ago, as the Republican Senate prepared to rush through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

In October, the White House held an indoor event to celebrate Barrett's nomination, which later proved to be a superspreader that led to the infection of several White House officials, Trump campaign advisers, and two senators. Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, also tested positive shortly after the event.

But even as the virus spread throughout Capitol Hill, Republican senators refused to delay Barrett's hearing. Several of them, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, refused to say whether they had been tested.

Others, like Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, outright refused to be tested at all, despite exposure to fellow committee member Mike Lee, who tested positive.

Grassley, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, refused to be tested as well.

Michael Zona, a spokesman for Grassley, said in a statement at the time that there was no reason for Grassley to even be tested for the virus.

"Sen. Grassley’s doctors have not recommended he be tested as he has not come into close contact with anyone suspected of having or confirmed to have coronavirus," Zona said. He claimed the senators had maintained a distance of more than six feet, and thus he had not come in close contact with the infected Lee.

Now that Grassley has tested positive, he is not providing details of his exposure or his decision to be tested. But with Barrett confirmed to the court, there is less urgency among Republican senators now to be present for hearings and votes.

In his announcement, Grassley said he is "feeling good" and hopes to resume his normal schedule soon.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.