After learning of Sen. Mitt Romney’s, R-Utah, self-quarantine due to possible coronavirus exposure on Sunday, President Trump quipped: “Gee, that’s too bad.”
Romney had been in contact with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who had tested positive for the virus.
When pressed by a reporter on whether the comment was sarcasm, Trump responded: “no, none whatsoever.” Trump and Romney have often had a tense relationship.
During the Senate impeachment trial in February, Romney voted to convict Trump on abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine. Romney was also firmly against Trump winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Various media figures slammed Trump’s remarks.
“Super funny joke!” MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted in response to Trump’s comments. “One of our incredible colleagues died from this on Friday.”
“Completely inappropriate,” CNN political analyst Gloria Borger said. “This is a President who can’t get beyond himself.”
In addition to Paul and Romney, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is also in self-quarantine. The three lawmakers will not be able to vote on the Senate floor, as the upper chamber debates a stimulus plan to boost the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus epidemic.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 41,708 coronavirus cases in the United States, with the death toll at 573.