McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony McCarthy, McConnell say they didn't watch Jan. 6 hearing MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn't visited the White House in two months because of how it responded to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE frequently, he hasn't been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.

"Because 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 told reporters.

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At a second stop in Kentucky, McConnell added that he had avoided going to the White House because he "personally didn't feel that they were approaching the protection from this illness in the same way that I thought was appropriate for the Senate." 

McConnell's comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump announced late last week that he had tested positive, and, since then, three GOP senators have also announced they were infected. Two of the three senators, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (Utah) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisEight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance MORE (N.C.), were at a Rose Garden event late last month where Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgAnti-abortion movement eyes its holy grail Abortion rights face most difficult test yet at Supreme Court Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade MORE.

The Senate implemented social distancing steps in May including spreading out caucus meetings and committee hearings. While Republicans still meet in person, in a larger room for lunch, Democrats have moved all their caucus meetings to phone calls.

The Senate doesn't have a mask mandate, however, most senators wear masks around the Capitol, and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.

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Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events, including Barrett's nomination ceremony, where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.

Trump also hasn't worn a mask at recent rallies. Before the president's diagnosis, many White House officials were seen walking around without masks.

McConnell has brushed off calls for a formal testing program in the Senate, arguing that they have been able to contain the virus. He also appeared, on Thursday, to take a veiled jab at the White House.

"You've heard about other places that have had a different view, and they are, you know, paying the price for it. But in the Senate ... we practiced social distancing and wore a mask and are continuing to operate normally adapting to the post-coronavirus situation," McConnell said.

McConnell reiterated that wearing a mask and social distancing was the best option until there is a vaccine.

"I think the message I have for everybody is ... wear your mask and practice social distancing. It's the only way we know of to prevent the spread until we get a vaccine," he said.

Updated at 2:25 p.m.