McConnell: Wearing a mask is 'single most significant thing' to fight pandemic

McConnell: Wearing a mask is 'single most significant thing' to fight pandemic
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Video shows NYC subway station renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday said wearing a mask is the single most important thing Americans can do to contain the coronavirus pandemic and get the U.S. economy back on its feet, setting up a contrast with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE, who rarely wears a mask.

“I’ve been promoting mask-wearing, we’ve been doing it in the Senate since the first of May when we resumed in-person sessions. It’s the single most significant thing everybody in the country can do to help prevent the spread,” McConnell said in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“Wear a mask, practice social distancing,” the GOP leader added.

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The GOP leader made the comment when asked by host Jim Cramer whether governors should be instructed to reopen state economies and schools with the proviso that people be required to wear masks.

McConnell has stressed the importance of wearing a mask for months, taking a different approach from Trump, who rarely wears a mask in public and has said it’s up to individual Americans whether to wear a mask.

The president in May said, “I won’t be doing it personally, it’s a recommendation.” Early on in the pandemic, Trump stressed that wearing masks would be voluntary and ridiculed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, for wearing one.

McConnell and other GOP senators, such as Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Florida senators pushing to keep Daylight Savings Time during pandemic Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll MORE (Fla.), have instead emphasized the importance of masks.

“Until we find a vaccine, these are really important,” McConnell, holding up a mask, told supporters during a public appearance in Kentucky last month. 

“I see various events on television on which people are clearly not wearing masks, not taking this seriously and not doing others a favor. We need to get past that,” he said. 

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Rubio told reporters in June: “Everyone should just wear a damn mask.”

Trump in recent days has changed his tone on wearing masks.

He first wore a mask in public during a July visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and said late last month he will “gladly” wear a mask, especially on elevators or in groups.

Trump’s campaign emailed supporters on Monday to encourage them to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

“I think it’s something we should all try to do when we are not able to be socially distanced from others,” the email read.