Rand Paul Responds to Critics After Diagnosis

While awaiting test results, he voted on Senate floor and worked out in the gym
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2020 1:37 PM CDT
Rand Paul Responds to Critics After Diagnosis
A file photo of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Rand Paul is so far the only senator to test positive for the coronavirus. After he learned of his diagnosis Sunday, the Kentucky Republican immediately left the Senate and went into quarantine, says his office in a tweet. Critics, though, are more concerned with what Paul—an eye doctor—did in the days before he received his test results. For one thing, the 57-year-old Paul worked out in the Senate gym Sunday morning and swam in the Senate pool, reports the New York Times. Paul took his test last Monday, meaning he was walking around the Capitol for a week before the results came. On Wednesday, he spoke on the Senate floor and voted. Critics such as Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (see her tweet) call that "absolutely irresponsible" and say he should have self-quarantined after taking the test, per the Washington Post. On Monday, Paul defended himself.

For starters, Paul said he got tested even though he had no symptoms and had not been in contact with anyone infected. He acknowledged attending a Kentucky fundraiser earlier in the month in which two people later tested positive, but he said he had zero direct contact with them. Paul says the main reasons he got tested were that he traveled extensively before social distancing guidelines were in effect and because he had part of a lung removed last year. "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," he wrote. Coverage of the controversy notes that Paul's father, Ron Paul, wrote a column on March 16 referring to the coronavirus crisis as a "hoax." (More Rand Paul stories.)

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