Thune returns to South Dakota after illness

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mitchell Daily Republic) – U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., returned to South Dakota Wednesday after falling ill in Washington, D.C. earlier in the day, according to the senator’s office.

Out of what his office described as “an abundance of caution,” Thune returned to Sioux Falls on Wednesday after consulting with physicians in Washington and in South Dakota. The illness forced Thune, who serves as Majority Whip in the Senate, to miss votes on the $2 billion stimulus package related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate passed the measure 96-0 late Wednesday.

“I unfortunately had to miss today’s votes – something I’ve rarely done during my time in Congress. I felt under the weather this morning and, out of an abundance of caution, thought it was the responsible decision to avoid contact with my colleagues on Capitol Hill,” Thune said in a statement. “Rest assured, I’ve been in touch with the attending physician at the Capitol and with my doctor in Sioux Falls – both of whom advised that self-quarantine was not required. Again, out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with the advice I’ve been giving South Dakotans, I decided that avoiding others was the best option.”

Thune’s Republican colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, revealed Sunday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, while fellow senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, both R-Utah, have self-quarantined after having recent contact with Paul. All three were not able to participate in the Senate discussions on the funding package, which has been hotly discussed this week in Washington.