On Tuesday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. At 87, Grassley is the president pro tempore of the United States Senate and the oldest of the six U.S. senators to have contracted the virus.
In a tweet announcing his positive test, Grassley announced that he is “feeling good” and that he will “keep up on my work for the [people] of Iowa from home.” Stuck in quarantine on Tuesday, it marked the first time in over 27 years that Grassley had missed a senate vote.
On Monday evening, Grassley gave a quick speech on the Senate floor during which he did not wear a mask, though the senator — who has been one of the more responsible members of his party about face coverings — was wearing one during votes. So far, none of the Republican senators who attended the party’s leadership meeting on Monday have announced they would quarantine. “I was like, 12 feet away from him at the meeting that’s why we’re in that big room,” said Republican Senator Roy Blunt, on his decision not to self-isolate. “We are all spread out, ” added Senator John Barrasso, in an interview with CNN.
Grassley, who is third in line for the presidency, did not say how he knew he was exposed to prior to his positive test. However, the virus continues to spread among lawmakers in D.C., including two House members who announced on Monday that they had tested positive for COVID-19. (Last week, 87-year-old Republican Don Young, the longest-serving member of the House, also tested positive.) In the wake of the election, the executive branch remains the COVID hotspot in government: At least 11 people have tested positive in the most recent White House coronavirus outbreak.