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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.