The US Senate Judiciary Committee's plan to begin confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on October 12 remain unchanged, despite President Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 test result, a Senate aide said on Friday.
Last week Trump said the dates were ultimately up to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. "Full steam ahead," the aide to Graham told Reuters Friday, when asked if the hearing schedule could change.
The president "sounded good, sounded upbeat" and asked first about the Senate Republican's confirmation hearing plans for Barrett, said the aide.
Trump's announcement during a flag-festooned White House Rose Garden ceremony – with Barrett, 48, by his side and her seven children on hand – set off a scramble by Senate Republicans to confirm her as the president has requested before Election Day in 5-1/2 weeks, when he will be seeking a second term in office.
If confirmed by the Senate to replace liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at age 87 on September 18, Barrett would become the fifth woman ever to serve on the court and would push its conservative majority to a commanding 6-3.
Also on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he will go ahead with a trip to Asia next week despite of Trump testing positive for coronavirus. Pompeo made the remark to reporters after meeting Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb.
Trump announced his and First Lady Melania Trump's positive tests on Twitter Friday morning, saying the two "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"
Melania Trump also wrote about the test on Twitter, saying, "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19."
According to the first lady, the two "are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."
The White House issued a new schedule for Trump's activities on Friday that did not include his planned trip to Florida. Trump has held regular rallies around the country to drum up enthusiasm for his candidacy against Democratic rival Joe Biden, who is ahead in national opinion polls.
A white house official said Trump was feeling well, and that his doctors were optimistic about the turnout of his condition.
"The vice president can take the reins if he has to. The president of course will want to be very involved, and he will be. As you know, he does not like to sit still."
White House aide Carolina Hurley said on Twitter the president's daughter Ivanka Trump ang her husband, Middle East advisor Jared Kushner, tested negative for the virus.