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Photo Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday told reporters in Kentucky that he hasn't been to the White House since Aug. 6 due to their handling of COVID-19 precautions.

What he's saying: "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 said.

Why it matters: McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Trump administration had — until recently — been negotiating the next coronavirus stimulus package. In-person talks would typically be used to catalyze policymaking.

  • The White House has been relatively laissez-faire about masks and has not imposed strict social distancing. Currently there are more than two dozen cases of coronavirus linked to the White House.
  • McConnell's COVID-19 status had been in question since the White House outbreak began last week. Trump, first lady Melania Trump and numerous staff members have tested positive.
  • Having last visited the White House in August puts McConnell well out of reach of Trump's positive coronavirus test — although some of the leader's Senate colleagues have tested positive in the past week.

The big picture: Trump says he is done with stimulus negotiations until after the election and has instructed McConnell to instead focus on confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Hearings are slated to begin next week and McConnell says he intends to move forward quickly.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anita Dunn to join Biden White House as senior adviser

Anita Dunn speak onstage at 'Women Rule: The L.A. Summit' at NeueHouse Hollywood on June 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Veteran communications and campaign strategist Anita Dunn will join Joe Biden's White House on a temporary basis, helping him to advance his opening agenda from inside the West Wing, people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

The big picture: Dunn, a former communications director to President Barack Obama, took on an expanded role in Biden's campaign when it faltered last winter, helping guide it through a party nomination and general election victory.

Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats call on Schumer for speedy Trump impeachment trial

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.

Kudlow says he's "very disappointed" in Trump's treatment of Pence

Larry Kudlow. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow criticized President Trump’s response to last week's U.S. Capitol siege and his treatment of Vice President Mike Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

The big picture: Trump has lost support from a number of top aides and allies since a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, resulting in five deaths. Kudlow is the latest to publicly speak out against the president.

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