Mitch McConnell Whacks White House Over Lax Coronavirus Protocols
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Suggested Thursday that the White House take better precautions against a possible superspreader event that could potentially have infected President Donald Trump, the first lady the coronavirus could hit several Republican senators and dozen of White House aides last month.
McConnell, who notoriously refuses to criticize Trump or break with him in any way, said he personally avoided visiting the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue because of the White House's lax virus logs.
"I haven't been to the White House since Aug. 6 because I felt their approach to my approach was different from mine, and I insisted that we wear a mask in the Senate and practice social distancing," he said 78-year-old majority leader at an event in Kentucky.
"If any of you have been around me since May 1st, I said," Wear your mask. Practice social distancing. "... Now you've heard of other places that have had a different point of view and, as you know, they are paying the price," he added at another event.
In sharp contrast to Trump, McConnell has placed great emphasis on wearing masks and social distancing in the Senate and at public events in his home state, touting these steps as the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those in need of protection Groups.
The most recent outbreak, which has infected at least 30 White House staff and other GOP officials, has directly threatened McConnell's majority in the Senate, which seeks to affirm a conservative Supreme Court judiciary ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Three Republican senators, including two members of the Justice Committee, have announced that they will test positive for the virus after the Rose Garden ceremony on Sept. 26. Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) Are currently quarantining. If more GOP senators catch the virus, it could break the verification process and postpone a final vote on Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump's increasingly unpredictable behavior this week could also threaten re-election bids from GOP incumbents facing tough battles that could put Democrats in control of the Senate.
The president is likely still contagious and has had steroids since he left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this week. He took off his mask before going to the White House on Monday and actually worked in the Oval Office on Wednesday, potentially putting other White House employees at risk.
On Thursday, Trump posted a video message on Twitter for seniors, a group that polls showed that he lost by a wide margin to Democratic rival Joe Biden.
"I'm a senior. I know you don't know. Nobody knows. Maybe you don't have to tell them, but I'm a senior," Trump said in the video. "They're not vulnerable, but they like to say" the vulnerable, "but you are the least vulnerable. But you are vulnerable to that one thing. Me too."
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