A son of the late Justice Antonin Scalia apologized to his parish Sunday for attending a White House ceremony without wearing a mask.
Rev. Paul Scalia, of the St. James Catholic Church in suburban Virginia, said he attended the Rose Garden ceremony where President Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his next pick for the Supreme Court. Barrett clerked for Justice Scalia and remains a friend of the family.
Scalia said when he; his brother, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia; and other family members arrived at the White House on Sept. 26, they were given a rapid test for COVID-19. After the test results came back negative, they were told they could remove their masks.
“Since the pandemic began, it has been my desire to ease people’s fears and anxieties,” Scalia wrote in a blog post to members of the Falls Church, Va., parish. “My actions at the White House seemed reasonable at the time given the presumed controls in place. Nevertheless, I apologize that they did not follow my own expectations, caused disquiet and anxiety, and have distracted from the work of the Gospel.”
Scalia said that he had been tested again, and his results were again negative, as were the results for his brother and their mother. He said he would quarantine through Friday at the recommendation of his doctor.
He said that members of the parish had reached out to express concern and point out that his actions contradicted “what I ask of those coming to Mass and other parish events” — namely, mask wearing and social distancing.
Scalia said those points were “well taken” and he thanked them for their candor. His post was first reported by The Washington Post.
At least eight people who were at the event have since tested positive for the coronavirus.