McConnell Says He Avoided White House Because of Virus Protocols

(Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hasn’t been to the White House in two months because of concerns that the White House wasn’t following proper social distancing or mask-wearing protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, left, wears a protective mask as he departs the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Talks Thursday between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought no immediate breakthrough on a deal for a new pandemic relief package, while the House prepared to vote on a Democrat-only plan.


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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, left, wears a protective mask as he departs the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Talks Thursday between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought no immediate breakthrough on a deal for a new pandemic relief package, while the House prepared to vote on a Democrat-only plan.

“I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th, because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine, and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which is to wear masks and practice social distancing,” McConnell said at a press conference Thursday in Kentucky.

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President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and multiple top presidential advisers are among a number people working at the White House who’ve tested positive for Covid-19.

McConnell said some people are “paying the price” for failing to wear masks and practicing social distancing.

“If any of you’ve been around me since May the 1st, I’ve said ‘wear your mask, practice social distancing, it’s the only way we know of to prevent the spread until we get a vaccine,” he said. “And we’ve practiced that in the Senate. Now you’ve heard about other places that have had a different view and they are, you know, paying the price for it.”

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McConnell says he’s avoided the White House for months because of Covid concerns

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t gone to the White House since August because their approach to safety during the coronavirus pandemic “is different than mine.”

Speaking at an event in Erlanger, Kentucky, McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, suggested he didn’t think the Trump administration had been doing enough to keep the White House safe from Covid-19.

“I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th, because my impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said.

The remark came as the White House has been ravaged by the coronavirus, with the president, first lady, top advisers and numerous staffers testing positive for the disease in the past week.

McConnell made the comment when asked if he thought President Donald Trump should be more transparent about his health, given his positive coronavirus diagnosis and medical treatment.

“We talk a lot on the telephone. I think he’s perfectly fine. He seems normal,” McConnell said, adding that the focus of their talks has been Amy Coney Barrett, who begins her Senate confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court on Monday.

“We’re having numerous discussions on Judge Barrett and the way forward on that,” McConnell said.

McConnell was not present at the Sept. 26th Rose Garden event at the White House where Trump nominated Barrett. Numerous attendees, including Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, later testing positive for the coronavirus.

Julie Tsirkin contributed.

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McConnell says it’s up to President Trump to decide best debate strategy

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U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell during a press conference Thursday at the CVG Centre (Photo: By Randy Tucker/ Enquirer Media)

HEBRON, Ky. — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday said he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax coronavirus practices.

“My impression was their approach to how to handle this (pandemic) was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said during an appearance in Northern Kentucky.

McConnell also shrugged off President Donald Trump’s vow not to participate in next week’s presidential debate if it was held virtually.

“I don’t have any particular reaction to it,’ McConnell said, during a press conference at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport’s corporate offices. “It’s really up to him to decide whether it’s to his advantage or not to his advantage to participate.”

McConnell visited the CVG Centre just a few hours after President Trump said he would skip the debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden after organizers said it would be held virtually because of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump told FOX Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, moments after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes.

The commission made the decision unilaterally, citing the need “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.”

McConnell said he maintains regular phone contact with Trump and that the president “seems perfectly fine.”

But McConnell said he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the president’s health condition because he hasn’t visited the White House since Aug. 6. McConnell was not at the Sept.  26 event in the Rose Garden announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee – which may have become a “superspreader” event.

Among attendees testing positive are Trump and first lady Melania Trump; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins; pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie; and freelance photographer Al Drago.

McConnell held the press conference to discuss the impact of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Kentucky, but said Democrats and Republicans were still far apart on agreeing to another round of economic stimulus.

“We have vast differences about how much we should spend,” McConnell said, while acknowledging the need for more stimulus.

McConnell was an early champion of the CARES Act, which has distributed $13 billion across the state of Kentucky, including $186 million in Northern Kentucky, according to a press release from his campaign.

CVG has received nearly $95 million in federal support, including over $52 million from the CARES Act.

The Associated Press and USA TODAY contributed to this report

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Mitch McConnell said he hasn’t been at White House due to COVID rules

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President Donald Trump told Fox Business that he won’t “waste my time” on a virtual presidential debate.

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HEBRON, Ky. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax coronavirus practices.

“My impression was their approach to how to handle this (pandemic) was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said during an appearance in Northern Kentucky.

The Kentucky Republican also shrugged off President Donald Trump’s vow not to participate in next week’s presidential debate if it was held virtually.

“I don’t have any particular reaction to it,’ McConnell said during a press conference at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport’s corporate offices. “It’s really up to him to decide whether it’s to his advantage or not to his advantage to participate.”

McConnell visited the CVG Centre just a few hours after Trump said he would skip the debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden after organizers said it would be held virtually because of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell during a press conference Thursday at the CVG Centre (Photo: By Randy Tucker/ Enquirer Media)

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump told FOX Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, moments after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes.

The commission made the decision unilaterally, citing the need “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.”

McConnell said he maintains regular phone contact with Trump and that the president “seems perfectly fine.”

But McConnell said he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the president’s health condition because he hasn’t visited the White House since Aug. 6. McConnell was not at the Sept.  26 event in the Rose Garden announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee – which may have become a “superspreader” event.

Among attendees testing positive are Trump and first lady Melania Trump; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins; pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie; and freelance photographer Al Drago.

McConnell held the press conference to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Kentucky, but said Democrats and Republicans were still far apart on agreeing to another round of economic stimulus.

“We have vast differences about how much we should spend,” McConnell said, while acknowledging the need for more stimulus.

McConnell was an early champion of the CARES Act, which has distributed $13 billion across the state of Kentucky, including $186 million in Northern Kentucky, according to a press release from his campaign.

CVG has received nearly $95 million in federal support, including over $52 million from the CARES Act.

The Associated Press and USA TODAY contributed to this report

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McConnell avoids visiting White House over its handling of coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a stark contrast Thursday between his handling of coronavirus in the Senate and the approach taken by the White House, which has experienced an outbreak among senior officials and the president.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to meet with reporters at the Capitol in Washington.


© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to meet with reporters at the Capitol in Washington.

During an event in northern Kentucky, McConnell said that he had not gone to the White House in more than two months because of how it has addressed the coronavirus.

“I actually haven’t been to the White House since August the 6th because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different than mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” the Kentucky Republican said.

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McConnell, 78, added that he continues to speak frequently with President Donald Trump by phone.

McConnell’s remarks come as the White House has become a hotbed recently for the virus. Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after he contracted the disease, and several of his top aides as well as White House staff members have been infected.

While McConnell, a polio survivor, did not rebuke the president directly, he has repeatedly called for wearing masks, both in floor speeches and at events. Meanwhile, the president for months refused to wear a face covering, and even mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during the Sept. 29 debate for wearing the “biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

The Senate is currently out of session, after three senators announced they tested positive for the virus over a 24-hour period. Two of the senators — Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — attended the White House’s Rose Garden ceremony announcing Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The event has been linked to recent cases. More than 30 White House staffers and other contacts tested positive.

The Senate is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Most senators, with a few exceptions, wear masks and committee hearings have taken on a “hybrid” format, where senators can choose whether to attend remotely.

But in the wake of recent cases, several senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are calling for a more robust testing regime in the Senate. Both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and McConnell rejected an offer earlier this year from the White House for rapid tests and so far neither are suggesting a change of course.

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McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence, Harris dodge direct answers in policy-focused debate Trump gambles with new stimulus strategy Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of how the administration has responded to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE frequently, he hasn’t been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.

“Because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell’s comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump announced late last week that he had tested positive, and, since then, three GOP senators have also announced they were infected. Two of the three senators, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeInternal memo links 34 coronavirus cases to White House: report Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump’s illness doesn’t absolve him of responsibility MORE (Utah) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisCunningham uses environmental awards event to apologize to voters Internal memo links 34 coronavirus cases to White House: report The Hill’s Campaign Report: Pence, Harris square off in Salt Lake City MORE (N.C.), were at a Rose Garden event late last month where Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgPence blasts Harris’s ‘non-answer’ on packing Supreme Court Pence, Harris dodge direct answers in policy-focused debate Eric Trump claims his father ‘literally saved Christianity’ MORE.

The Senate implemented social distancing steps in May including spreading out caucus meetings and committee hearings. While Republicans still meet in person, in a larger room for lunch, Democrats have moved all their caucus meetings to phone calls.

The Senate doesn’t have a mask mandate, however, most senators wear masks around the Capitol, and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.

Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events, including Barrett’s nomination ceremony, where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.

Trump also hasn’t worn a mask at recent rallies. Before the president’s diagnosis, many White House officials were seen walking around without masks.

McConnell has brushed off calls for a formal testing program in the Senate, arguing that they have been able to contain the virus. He also appeared, on Thursday, to take a veiled jab at the

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