Michigan House cancels voting session after Giuliani test
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House canceled its voting session scheduled for Tuesday following an announcement that Rudy Giuliani tested positive for the coronavirus just days after he testified before lawmakers in Lansing without wearing a mask.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney spoke for hours Wednesday before a Republican-led committee investigating alleged election irregularities. He pushed legislators to ignore the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote win over Trump and appoint electors, despite GOP legislative leaders having said they cannot do that under state law. U.S. Attorney General William Barr says no evidence of widespread fraud has been uncovered that could change the outcome.
“Multiple representatives have requested time to receive results from recent COVID-19 tests before returning to session, out of an abundance of caution,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Levering Republican who met with Giuliani before the hearing, said in a statement Monday. “The CDC guidelines would not consider them close contacts with anyone, even if Mayor Giuliani had been positive, but they want to go above and beyond in the interest of public safety. With the recent spike in COVID cases nationwide, this makes sense.”
Chatfield, who was being tested, said several other House members needed to miss Tuesday’s session for non-virus reasons. Votes will be taken on Wednesday and Thursday in the second-to-last week of the two-year session.
Trump announced Sunday that Giuliani had tested positive. The 76-year-old former New York mayor, who also visited Arizona and Georgia last week, had some symptoms and was admitted to Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
The health department in Ingham County, where Lansing is located, said several people who attended the Michigan committee meeting must quarantine at least through Saturday. Health officer Linda Vail said she consulted with the state health department and it agrees that “it is extremely likely that Giuliani was contagious during his testimony.”
Dozens of lawmakers attended the hearing, in addition to eight of the panel’s nine members. One, Democratic Rep. Darrin Camilleri of Wayne County’s Brownstown Township, tweeted that he saw at least five other GOP legislators in the crowd.
“People are contagious with COVID-19 two days prior to symptom onset or a positive COVID-19 test if asymptomatic,” Vail said in a statement. “Giuliani’s hospitalization on Sunday is highly indicative of onset prior to Saturday making Wednesday a likely exposure date. Anyone who did not wear a face covering during the proceedings must quarantine. Also, anyone who was within 6 feet of Giuliani for 15 minutes, which can be cumulative rather than a single 15-minute period (regardless of mask usage), must quarantine.”
During his Michigan trip, Giuliani also met with state Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox. Neither wore masks while sitting with each other to virtually brief GOP activists. A spokesman said she and a handful of other Republican staffers who came into contact with him were being tested.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said the “reckless” hearing was “unnecessary” and “didn’t change a thing.” She called it a potential super-spreader event because of the number of people not wearing masks in the room for more than four hours.
“It is actions like this that threaten our ability to open up some of these businesses, when people aren’t doing what they can do and need to do to keep others safe and keep COVID down,” she said, referencing her administration’s order extending the closure of entertainment venues and ban on indoor dining at restaurants.
At least 10 lawmakers have been infected with the virus, which at times has led to the postponement of votes and meetings. An 11th legislator died from a suspected case in March.
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