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Pence says he will head back to DC “in case” his vote is needed for Barrett confirmation


Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Kevin Cramer in the Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol on October 1 in Washington. Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Republican members of the Senate are split about whether they will be attending the post-SCOTUS-vote event at the White House tonight, celebrating Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination.

Some have said they plan to attend, citing that the event will be outside, and that protective measures will be in place. 

“I would anticipate that everybody will practice good hygiene, social distancing whatever is appropriate,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, whose state has recently seen the highest transmission rate in the country.  

“It sounds like it’s an outdoor event I mean , that would certainly help that. Obviously, a lot more room, as well as the clean air, so I’m not, I’m not overly concerned. I’m certainly not concerned for myself. I’ll do my part,” he said. 

Others, like Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, had planned to go, but are wavering.

“I RSVP’d yes, but I’m reconsidering that,” he said. When asked if his hesitation had to do with COVID, he demurred,  saying it “had to do with a lot of factors.” 

Several senators remain undecided.

“I haven’t decided,” said Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. When asked if he’s concerned about the safety of the event, he replied: “I think it is important that people wear masks and they social distance.”

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina also said he hasn’t decided whether he will attend, because “if I can get on a plane going to South Carolina, I’m going to do that.”

Other members also said they plan to go home following the vote, including Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to answer a question. McConnell recently revealed he has not been to the White House since early August and has been critical on their practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

CNN reported Sunday that President Trump is expected to swear in Barrett at the White House at 9 p.m. ET, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Monday morning the White House would be “doing the best we can” to prevent an outbreak at the event, including “encouraging as much social distancing as possible” and testing “in and around those that are critical to the mission.”

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