This article is subscriber-only content. To get access to this and the rest of McClatchyDC.com, subscribe or sign in.

Thanks for reading! To enjoy this article and more, please subscribe or sign in.

Unlimited Digital Access

$1.99 for 1 month

Subscribe with Google

$1.99 for 1 month

Let Google manage your subscription and billing.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to the McClatchyDC.com's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
No thanks, go back

Are you a subscriber and unable to read this article? You may need to upgrade. Click here to go to your account and learn more.

Coronavirus

McConnell blames Trump impeachment trial for distracting the US from coronavirus

 

The Republican leader in the Senate blamed the Democrats’ push to impeach the president for distracting the government during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking Tuesday on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said the spread of COVID-19 that began in China “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial.”

“I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment,” McConnell said.

Click to resize

Trump has been criticized for downplaying the virus and responding too slowly.

The talking point has come up several times in recent weeks among conservatives, blaming President Trump’s slow response to the growing pandemic on the impeachment proceedings.

Writing in The Washington Post last week, former Justice Department lawyer Joshua Geltzer said, “The new talking point of President Trump’s media allies is that his lackluster response to the coronavirus isn’t his fault but the fault of those who pursued impeachment by distracting him.”

“Impeachment indicated how he would respond, from his refusal to face facts, his abuse of public trust for private gain and his sidelining of actual government expertise in favor of outside channels,” Geltzer said.

The U.S. House of Representatives sent the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate on Jan. 15, six days before the first case of the virus was reported in the United States.

President Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 5, when there were 12 confirmed cases in the U.S. The president declared a national state of emergency on March 13.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also made an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show on Tuesday.

“In mid-January and late-January, unfortunately, Washington, especially the Congress, was consumed with another matter — you may recall the partisan impeachment of the President,” Cotton said. “But I was focused on the time on what I thought was going to be a growing crisis coming out Wuhan.”

National Coverage. Local Perspectives.
#ReadLocal

Impact2020 is your destination for curated election coverage, focusing on local topics influencing critical states like Florida, Texas, California and the Carolinas. Offer includes one-year digital subscription for $50; renewed at $124.99 annually unless you tell us to cancel.

STAY INFORMED
MORE CORONAVIRUS
Copyright Privacy Policy Do Not Sell My Personal Information Terms of Service