MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – Three Minnesota Republican congressmen are facing criticism for taking a commercial Delta flight home from Washington just two days after they were on Air Force One with President Donald Trump.

Reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn were on a Delta Air Lines flight Friday night despite its restrictions on passengers recently exposed to COVID-19. Trump announced early Friday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Delta’s policy says customers who know they were exposed to the virus in the past 14 days cannot travel. The airline defines exposure as face-to-face contact with someone with the virus or sustained contact for more than 15 minutes less than 6 feet (2 meters) apart.

Emmer, Hagedorn, and Stauber were aboard Air Force One as the president flew to a rally in Duluth on Wednesday. Emmer tweeted a picture of the three of them.

(credit: Tom Emmer/Twitter)

State Democratic Party chairman Ken Martin said the three congressmen put the health and safety of other passengers at serious risk.

Hagedorn pushed back in a post on his campaign Facebook page Saturday, saying the three men had tested negative and had not been exposed to someone carrying the virus longer than 15 minutes and closer than 6 feet (2 meters). He said they also informed the airline and the flight’s captain of their situation and Delta “made the decision to fly based upon the facts.”

Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the flight was less than 40% full and that no one left the plane before it took off to protest the men’s presence.

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