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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