Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted he has not visited President Donald Trump at the White House in two months because of the administration's "approach" to coronavirus restrictions. The Kentucky Republican said Thursday the guidelines there are not as strict as the ones he has imposed at the Senate. McConnell notably did not attend the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event, where Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his new Supreme Court nominee.
During a press conference at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport's corporate offices, McConnell said he had not been to the White House since Aug. 6. "My impression was their approach to how to handle this (pandemic) was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing," McConnell, 78, said, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. McConnell said he did not have first-hand knowledge of Trump's condition, but the president "seems perfectly fine" when the two talk over the phone.
Several people who attended Barrett's nomination event have since tested positive for the coronavirus, including the president. Republican Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, First Lady Melania Trump, and Notre Dave President Rev. John Jenkins also tested positive. Trump spent last weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center but was back at the White House by Monday evening. On Thursday night, White House Dr. Sean Conley said he believes Trump could make a "safe return to public engagements" by Saturday.
On Wednesday, ABC News obtained a FEMA memo that revealed the coronavirus infected 34 White House staffers "and other contacts" in recent days. The memo notes some of Trump's senior advisors tested positive. As previously reported, Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller both tested positive. On Tuesday, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said they are "taking precautions" to stop the spread of the virus within the building to make working in the West Wing "feel comfortable."
White House security official Crede Bailey is reported "gravely ill" from COVID-19, four sources told Bloomberg on Wednesday. The White House has not commented on his illness, which began before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event. Bailey is a career federal employee who oversees the White House security office.
It's not clear where Trump contracted the coronavirus since the White House refused to say when he last tested negative before his positive test last week. During a Fox Business interview Thursday morning, Trump theorized that he may have contracted it during a meeting with families who lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump said he couldn't back away from the Gold Star family members when they shared stories with him.