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

Schumer: Coney Barrett vote "one of the darkest days" in Senate history

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday "will go down as one of the darkest days" in Senate history, moments before the chamber voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The bottom line: Schumer said his Republican colleagues "decided to thwart the will of the people" by holding the vote eight days ahead of the presidential election, despite opposing President Obama's nominee because it was an election year.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

Of note: As Republicans applauded the action, Democratic leaders warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative so close to the election, as progressives led calls to expand the court.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett before a meeting on Capitol Hill on Oct. 21. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 52-48 on Monday to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She is expected to be sworn in within hours.

Why it matters: President Trump and Senate Republicans have succeeded in confirming a third conservative justice in just four years, tilting the balance of the Supreme Court firmly to the right for perhaps a generation.

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