Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday jumped on the Republican bandwagon urging the public to continue wearing face masks as coronavirus cases surge in several states.
During a Senate floor speech, McConnell sought to find a “middle ground” amid the pandemic, which includes wearing masks. President Trump has yet to wear a mask in public and has not encouraged the public to do so, though the White House says Trump has no issues with masks.
“Until we have a safe and effective vaccine, it will remain all of our jobs as American citizens to help our nation settle into a middle ground between unsustainable emergency lockdowns and our ordinary life from before all this,” McConnell said.
McConnell added that “we cannot go right back to normal” and called for “new routines, new rhythms and new strategies” to accomplish a new middle ground. The Senate majority leader then said that it’s up to each family, small business, employer and all levels of government to “apply common sense” to make this happen.
“We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” McConnell said. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
McConnell concluded that “the more we hate the pain and suffering” regarding the strict stay-at-home guidelines imposed a few months ago, the public should be “happier” to “take responsible small steps every day to ensure our country can stay on offense against the virus.”
McConnell’s mask wearing demand comes just hours after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany continued deferring to local officials on mask requirements, despite Vice President Mike Pence finally encouraging the public to wear facial coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 the day before.
McConnell joins other Republican lawmakers in calling for wearing masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told CNN that it would “help” if the President wore a mask to put an end to the political debate surrounding the matter. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) also recently urged the public to adhere to mask wearing requirements.
Watch McConnell’s remarks below:
McConnell: "We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people." pic.twitter.com/Tt6VPq5B8F
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) June 29, 2020