On Sept. 29, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) attended a party together to watch the first presidential debate.

Two days later, feeling sick, Lee took a test for the novel coronavirus, receiving a positive diagnosis and becoming the first of three GOP senators to announce in a 24-hour span that they had contracted the virus. Less than 11 full days later, Lee participated in Monday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, delivering an opening statement in person — with no mask — and periodically whispering to his GOP colleagues.

Yet Cruz, who tested negative and has never had any symptoms, remained in quarantine at his Washington apartment and delivered his statement via videoconference technology on a big screen just over Lee’s right shoulder in the hearing room.

That split-screen image summed up the Republican response to a pandemic that has killed more than 214,000 Americans — caution from some, pre-coronavirus behavior from others.Read the full story


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