Mar 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Impeachment distracted Trump admin from coronavirus response

Trump and McConnell

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the impeachment trial slowed the Trump administration's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The administration is largely playing catch-up in handling the virus, extending its initial "15 days to slow the spread" ambitions to 30 days after cases surged nationwide.

  • Trump was acquitted of impeachment on Feb. 5, and the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed in Washington state on Jan. 21.
  • The president declared a public health emergency and travel restrictions to China for the U.S. on Jan. 31.

What he's saying: "It came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial," McConnell said of the outbreak on "The Hugh Hewitt Show." "And I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment."

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