Where Things Stand: Trump Didn’t Take McConnell’s Political Out

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after delivering his State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on ... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after delivering his State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump delivered his third State of the Union to the nation the night before the U.S. Senate is set to vote in his impeachment trial. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 1, 2020 11:08 a.m.
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The Senate majority leader tried to give him an out.

It’s hardly surprising that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would contort himself into a pretzel to offer President Trump some sort of excuse — especially one dripping in Trump’s favorite flavor of partisanship — for the administration’s botched handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. But the befuddling bit is Trump didn’t bite.

During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, McConnell suggested that Congress and the White House would’ve had a quicker response to the coronavirus outbreak if both branches of government hadn’t been so consumed by impeachment, slimily shoving the responsibility for the unprecedented outbreak on Democrats — the exact brand of excuse that Trump would normally seize on.

But instead he stuck to his “perfect call” line of defense, suggesting last night that the impeachment trial in the Senate didn’t impact the way his administration responded to the outbreak, which has been widely criticized as many days late and many dollars — and lives — short.

“I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, okay?” Trump said. “And I think that’s a great tribute to something, maybe it’s a tribute to me, but I don’t think I would have acted any differently, or I don’t think I would have acted any faster.”

While it’s not an uncommon tactic for this president to repeat falsehoods enough times that his supporters embrace them as truths, it is rare that Trump wouldn’t take a political excuse served up by a powerful Republican on a platter.

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Tierney Sneed is reporting on Louisiana’s scramble to obtain ventilators as the state saw a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths this week.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is maintaining his overblown rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, complaining last night about schools shutting down in his home state and suggesting that the measure was “way overkill.” Just as the White House began taking the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. seriously, Nunes encouraged constituents to go out to eat at local restaurants. We’ll keep an eye on whether this continues.

Today’s Rundown

2:30 p.m. ET: Trump will hold a phone call with military families to discuss the White House’s COVID-19 response.

5:00 p.m. ET: The White House coronavirus task force will hold it’s press briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Life On A Block With An Emergency Morgue Truck: ‘We Hear the Hum of the Refrigerator Going All Night Long’ — ProPublica

What We Are Reading

The View From Quarantine — Slate Staff

AMC CEO Hopes Theaters Will Reopen By Mid-June, Optimistic Moviegoers Will Return In Droves — Sarah Whitten

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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