Coronavirus spike shakes Senate Republicans

He predicted a reversal: “I would be surprised if there is a good reason not to continue.”

Meanwhile, Trump continues to downplay the impact of the virus, questioning the value of the evidence and ridiculing the idea of ​​wearing a mask despite holding large-scale campaign rallies. While touring an auto plant in Michigan last month, Trump refused to wear a mask and said “it wasn’t necessary.”

But wearing masks has become virtually ubiquitous among Republican senators, with some now calling on Trump to set an example with a face covering, which medical experts say helps slow the spread of the virus.

“We will be required to use it. … I think you should be leading that effort, yes, “said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.).” Should I be wearing a mask? In certain situations, yes.

“I prefer that he do it. You know he won’t. I’m not excusing him, obviously. I prefer that he use it because people are following an example,” added Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Although he noted that the president has a routine different from that of most people; Trump and those around him are regularly screened for the virus.

Trump’s decision not to wear a mask also makes it difficult for Republican governors to apply similar measures without appearing to be breaking up with the President. At this point, many Republican-controlled states are dealing with spikes in viruses that are largely beyond the control of senators.

“I think that the mayors, the governors, the president, have a responsibility. I think they should talk more about masks and social distancing, ”said Senator Rick Scott (Florida), whose state has seen a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.

The new round of infections comes at a critical time for the Republican Party. Trump is reeling in the polls and threatens to take the Senate majority out of the party. Trump has long warned Republicans about the dangers of parting with him, even in a recent interview with POLITICO. But as the crisis continues to worsen, further hampering the once-strong economy, more Republican senators cautiously urge a course correction.

The Senate is also about to begin seriously considering a large coronavirus relief package, which may be the last word from Congress on the matter before the election.

The White House, meanwhile, has tried to get past the virus. Trump and his administration have closed virus briefings that were a mainstay this spring. And Vice President Mike Pence presented an optimistic case to Senate Republicans on Wednesday, saying that deaths have decreased and that the country is well prepared to fight infection.

The worst is over, they argue. But Republicans in the Senate say this is not the time to withdraw.

“This is not the time to decide that we can walk away and leave all of this to the states,” said Senator Roy Blunt (Republican).

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that as states decide how to reopen, the federal government needs to continue coordinating tests and developing treatments and vaccines. She also said that federal health officials should inform the public and appear before Congress.

However, if Trump himself should speak more to the nation about the virus, he made her stop: “Yes. Well. Depends on what you say.

Trump has come under fire for some of his comments on the coronavirus, including the suggestion that disinfectants could help eradicate the virus. Their regular briefings ended shortly after those comments in late April.

Now that Trump refuses to use his bullying pulpit to urge Americans to take more precautions, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing, Republican senators are trying to fill the gap.

The chamber will focus on crafting another financial aid package after he returns from a two-week recess on July 4. And the outbreaks in an increasing number of states are beginning to influence how that legislation will bind.

“I think it’s worth looking at the next bill a little differently and thinking: What have we left open on the health care side? Should there be more money for the tests? Should there be more money for vaccines or therapies? Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said. “We have to recognize that we are not making as much progress as we expected in the coronavirus.”