On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a plea to his constituents to work to fight the spread of the coronavirus. During a speech in his Kentucky district, he told attendees there was “no stigma” in wearing face masks, according to Caitlyn Oprysko of Politico. He added there was also no stigma to staying at least 6 feet apart.
Making an appearance just hours after the United State officially ticked past 100,000 coronavirus deaths, McConnell tailored much of his speech to the younger people in attendance. McConnell told them they had an “obligation to others” to practice social distancing standards. He added they may be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they didn’t feel ill but were still able to infect others they came into contact with.
Oprysko said McConnell’s comments mean he’s officially waded into a burgeoning “culture war” over whether or not to wear a mask. By pleading with his constituents to wear a mask, the majority leader is potentially setting himself in conflict with President Donald Trump.
Trump has reportedly refused to wear a mask in public, even when touring facilities that require them. At a recent Rose Garden event, Trump even attacked a reporter who wouldn’t take off his mask to ask the president questions. As the BBC’s Paul Danahar reported on Twitter, when the reporter said he’d just speak louder rather than remove his mask, Trump accused him of being “politically correct.”
Last week, Trump toured a Ford Motors plant in Detroit and wore a face mask when he was in private. When he appeared in front of reporters later, he reportedly told them he removed the mask because he didn’t want to give them “the pleasure” of allowing them to see him with it on. Vice President Mike Pence has also eschewed a mask in some public events, though he’s started wearing it a bit more often after being repeatedly questioned by reporters about his apparent refusal.
McConnell’s pleas to his supporters to wear a mask is the second time this month the majority leader has somewhat conflicted with the Trump administration over public messaging. As The Inquisitr reported earlier, McConnell tried to claim former President Barack Obama left “no gameplan” for fighting a pandemic. He later had to walk those comments back and admit there was a detailed plan when former members of Obama’s administration fired back on social media and through the media.
McConnell’s comments targeted at young people came just a few days after pictures surfaced of hundreds of people partying in the Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend.