Mitt Romney is going into quarantine.
According to Fox News, the Republican senator from Utah said Sunday that he will self-isolate after coming into contact with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who became the first U.S. senator to test positive for the coronavirus this weekend. Romney has no symptoms at present, but was reportedly in “extended” contact with Paul recently.
Romney in self-quarantine
Sen. Paul announced his diagnosis on Sunday, making him the first member of the upper chamber to definitively have the potentially deadly virus. The news added further urgency to the coronavirus crisis, which has already infected thousands of Americans and killed hundreds, while sending millions more into isolation in their homes.
Sen. Romney’s office said Sunday that the Utah Republican will self-quarantine on doctor’s orders, citing Romney’s close contact with Paul in recent days.
Romney also told reporters separately that he had lunch with Paul and other senators on Friday.
“Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor. He has no symptoms but will be tested,” his office stated.
Senator slams “reckless” Democrats
The news comes as the Senate weighs a massive $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Romney urged the Senate to pass a bill “as quickly as possible that provides assistance for families, workers, and small businesses.”
The Senate failed on both Sunday and Monday to vote on an aid package. Democrats have criticized the current iteration of the legislation as a giveaway for corporations that doesn’t do enough to protect workers, while Republicans have fired back that Democrats are holding up the bill with unrelated line items concerning pet issues like climate change, The Hill reports.
Romney, known for his above-it-all perorations, criticized Democrats’ “reckless” decision to block the bill Sunday:
Nothing in the Senate has shocked me, until today. Standing in the way of a critically needed rescue package is irresponsible and reckless. Dems say not enough money to states: nearly $200 billion isn’t chump change. Hospitals get at least $75 billion. As for funds for companies, it’s to keep entities that employ millions of Americans from folding—it’s to save jobs. Keep this up a little longer and we will go from social distancing to social destruction.
Paul at risk
Coronavirus is said to be particularly harmful to older people and those with underlying health conditions. Of particular concern is that Sen. Paul had part of his lung removed last year after a neighbor assaulted him in 2017, according to Axios. Romney said that he was worried about Paul on Sunday and told reporters that “senators are going to seek medical advice as to what actions we should take to make sure that we don’t in any way spread this virus ourselves.”
“We have to determine if any of us should self-quarantine as a result of being in the same room,” he said.
Some senators criticized Paul for continuing to work and exercise at the Senate gym and pool after being tested for coronavirus, The Hill noted. As a partisan furor continued to storm over coronavirus, Christine Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, said that Paul’s neighbor “was right” to assault him, according to Fox.
While Paul is an ally of Trump’s, Romney is more of a nemesis. Upon hearing of Romney’s exposure, Trump commented sarcastically, “Romney’s in isolation? Gee, that’s too bad.”