The White House planned a Monday night celebration of the Republican Senate’s expected confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, a month after a similar event was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak that preceded President Donald Trump’s own infection, APA reports citing Reuters.
While Democrats have fiercely opposed the conservative jurist’s nomination, Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 Senate majority and her confirmation to a lifetime post on the court seems assured.
Trump pressed the Senate to confirm Barrett before the Nov. 3 election, which would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the top U.S. judicial body.
Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, is Trump’s third selection for the court, enabling him to remake it in dramatic fashion as part of his success in moving the broader federal judiciary to the right since taking office in 2017.
The Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony at which Trump named Barrett to succeed the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg preceded a wave of COVID-19 cases among top Republicans including Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The president spent three nights hospitalized receiving COVID-19 treatment.
The event, part of which occurred in the White House Rose Garden, was crowded with guests, many of whom did not wear masks.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that Monday’s event likely would be held outdoors.
“Tonight, we’ll be doing the best we can to encourage as much social distancing as possible,” Meadows said.
Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican and Trump ally, said he was not overly concerned about attending the White House event.
“I would anticipate that everybody will practice good hygiene, social distancing, whatever is appropriate,” Cramer told reporters.