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."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

U.S. cities' lagging climate progress

Expand chart
Reproduced from a Brookings Institution report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A just-published Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. cities' pledges to cut carbon emissions reveals very mixed results.

Why it matters: The potential — and limits — of city and state initiatives have gotten more attention amid President Trump's scuttling of Obama-era national policies.

New state unemployment filings fall to 787,000

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First-time applications for unemployment fell last week, according to Department of Labor data released on Thursday.

Between the lines: The overall number of Americans relying on unemployment also fell to a still-staggering 23 million. But there are continued signs of labor market strain, with more people shifting to an unemployment program designed for the long-term jobless.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.