At the crucial beginning stages of the pandemic that's since upended daily life in the United States, President Donald Trump assured that the virus would disappear "like a miracle," and that the 15 cases in the country at the time would shrink to zero in a matter of days. Republican lawmakers, eager to please the President, echoed these talking points.
Trump reportedly ignored warnings from officials that a massive outbreak in the United States was inevitable, and that he and the administration needed to prepare a response—allocating medical equipment and safety measures to meet the virus upon arrival.
That didn't happen.
Over 173,000 cases and 3,500 deaths later, Republican lawmakers are employing one of their most common solutions: It was actually Democrats' fault the entire time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) clung to that talking point in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.
The Senator claimed that the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump distracted the government from being able to adequately prepare for the looming pandemic.
"[I]t came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment."
During the impeachment process, Republicans chastised Democrats for investigating and later charging the President, claiming that it was a distraction from the business of the country. The Democrat-dominated House of Representatives pointed out that it had consistently passed hundreds of bills, with no interruption due to impeachment.
The vast majority of those bills died on the desk of—you guessed it—Senator Mitch McConnell, who refused to bring them to the floor.
If the nation's governance did stall due to impeachment, that was certainly news to Donald Trump, who campaigned and golfed even more than usual.
People were quick to call him out.
Trump played golf eight times from mid-January to early March, as the #coronavirus crisis deepened. So his attentio… https://t.co/m3WI6qgy5M— David Corn (@David Corn) 1585660004.0
Now the GOP claims impeachment hurt our coronavirus response. CDC issued a warning on Jan 8. Trump was acquitted… https://t.co/l2FBucxjyX— Pé (@Pé) 1585664583.0
The Senate impeachment trial of Trump began January 15 and ended with his acquittal on February 5. Blaming impeachm… https://t.co/sVhaWyemQl— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1585682797.0
Trump held rallies on: —January 9th —January 14th —January 28th —January 30th —February 10th —February 19th —Februa… https://t.co/xriQSW5rMf— Roger Tansey 🌊🌊🌊 (@Roger Tansey 🌊🌊🌊) 1585676187.0
Save and Post as needed. The CDC issued its first warning on Jan 8. Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb 5.… https://t.co/7EYzcFuAz8— RR Seattle (@RR Seattle) 1585669581.0
Lawmakers were aware of the looming threat as well.
On the very day of Trump's acquittal, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned that the threat posed by the virus wasn't being taken seriously enough.
Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough. Nota… https://t.co/O2QeSYnFig— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1580915374.0
February 5 may seem like a lifetime ago, but people hadn't forgotten Murphy's warning.
Reminder: this was the day Trump was acquitted. https://t.co/qwRlR4XDjM— Geraldine (@Geraldine) 1585674890.0
Check the date. Nothing being requested or ordered at this time by administration. Congress offered it this early!… https://t.co/oymc1FSvSf— Barbara Stiles (@Barbara Stiles) 1585673923.0
February 5th @senatemajldr...your lies aren't going to work. https://t.co/wEocr51IVQ— Marcus (@Marcus) 1585667385.0
Note the date. The country still doesn't have enough PPE for healthcare workers, let alone masks for the populatio… https://t.co/VE4BmeRlMx— Great&UnmatchedCavsKermit (@Great&UnmatchedCavsKermit) 1585427196.0
McConnell's remarks come just days after Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was ridiculed for attempting to make a similar point. It's likely this could be the latest attempt by Republicans to rewrite the recent past.
Don't believe it.
Mitch McConnell is up for reelection this November. You can donate to his opponent, Amy McGrath, here.