McConnell Says Impeachment Distracted Trump From COVID-19, Seemingly Admitting He’s Too Inept To Do Two Things At Once
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in discussing the current coronavirus crisis affecting the entire country at the moment, tried to lay blame for poor preparations for the disease on Democrats, who he implied distracted the nation from the impending pandemic through their attempts to impeach Trump.
McConnell made the comments on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program on Tuesday, CNN reported.
The coronavirus crisis “came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial,” McConnell explained. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day was all about impeachment.”
In spite of evidence of Trump attempting to play politics himself (including bragging during press briefings about his television ratings), McConnell said it was Democrats who were trying to politicize the ongoing crisis. “The Democrats, it seems to me, want to turn the president’s handling of all this into a political liability for him,” he said.
While McConnell tries to blame Democrats for the poor response to coronavirus, it ignores key moments and statements from Trump himself that demonstrate the president knew what was going on, during and after impeachment. If anything, if the historical record is taken into account by those hearing his words, it’s almost as if McConnell is saying Trump is too inept to handle two issues at the same time.
Indeed, impeachment ended on February 6. From that time to the end of February, Trump did little-to-nothing to prepare for the pandemic — in fact, the president lashed out at those who dared to say he wasn’t doing enough to get ready for the disease’s spread in the U.S.
- On February 19, he said he wasn’t worried about coronavirus, believing that, even if it did come to the U.S., it would go away in April “in the warmer weather,” in spite of no scientific evidence backing that claim.
- On February 25, the president claimed the disease was “very well under control in our country.”
- When there were 15 cases identified by February 26, Trump, staking a differing opinion from experts surrounding him, said the number of cases would be “down to close to zero” within a couple of days.
- On February 28, Trump, during a campaign rally in South Carolina, said criticisms of his lackadaisical approach were nothing more than political attacks against him, calling it the “new hoax” from Democrats.
Given these statements from Trump, it’s hard to see how McConnell’s claims that there was a distraction bare any truth to them. Indeed, professor Stephen Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law explained that McConnell’s reasoning was errant, especially since Trump’s response was so slow that it was only 12 days ago that he announced a national emergency, Law & Crime reported.
“Trump was acquitted by the Senate on February 5 — but didn’t declare a national emergency to address COVID-19 until March 13,” Vladeck said in a tweet. “Even accepting this nonsense argument (Presidents can’t do two things at once??), that’s *37 days* after acquittal without any meaningful federal action.”