Sen. Lindsey Graham Self Quarantines Over Coronavirus Exposure

March 13, 2020 Updated: March 13, 2020
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the latest lawmaker to self-isolate over potential or confirmed exposure to the new coronavirus after a member of the Brazilian delegation to the United States later tested positive for COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

Graham, 64, was among the lawmakers who spent time with the delegation at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s resort in Florida.

Fabio Wajngarten, press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the delegation.

“Senator Graham was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend,” Graham’s office said in a statement. “He has no recollection of direct contact with the President of Brazil, who is awaiting results of a coronavirus test, or his spokesman who tested positive.”

The move to self-quarantine was made out of an “abundance of caution” and upon the advice of his doctor. He’ll continue his work from home.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez went into isolation on Thursday because of their contact with Bolsonaro’s delegation. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another official who came into contact with the delegation, said in a statement that he “had no interaction” with the staff member who tested positive.

The Office of Attending Physician advised Rubio there was no need to self-quarantine or be tested.

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Brazil’s Communication Secretary Fabio Wajngarten at Planalto Palace in Brasilia in 2019. (Sergio Lima/AFP via Getty Images)

Bolsonaro was tested for the new virus but results haven’t returned yet, his son Eduardo Bolsonaro said late Thursday.

Trump, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, White House advisor Ivanka Trump, and other top officials met with Bolsonaro in Florida over the weekend. Bolsonaro’s delegation was in the United States for three days.

Pictures showed Wajngarten posing with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the White House was made aware of reports that the official tested positive after visiting Mar-a-Lago last weekend.

“Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” she said in a statement.

“As stated before, the White House Medical Unit and the United States Secret Service has been working closely with various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy.”

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President Donald Trump, center, speaks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left, during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump told reporters on Thursday that he wasn’t worried about Wajngarten testing positive.

“Let’s put it this way, I’m not concerned,” he said.

“We had dinner together in Florida at Mar-a-Lago with the entire delegation,” Trump added. “I don’t know if the press aide was there. If he was there, he was there. But, we did nothing very unusual. We sat next to each other for a period of time, had a great conversation. We’ll find out what happens.”

No members of Congress or the White House have tested positive for the virus so far. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), closed her office after a staff member tested positive for the virus, the first known case on Capitol Hill.

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