Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) criticized President Biden’s goal that would see Americans able to hold small outdoor gatherings for Independence Day, in a Monday speech on the Senate floor.
McConnell characterized the goal as “out of step with science.” The minority leader pointed out that according to current pandemic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinated Americans can already gather in small groups indoors without masks, and elderly vaccinated Americans may visit their unvaccinated grandchildren.
In his speech on Thursday marking a year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic, Biden said that Americans may be able to celebrate the Fourth of July in small groups if they continue to follow mitigation guidelines.
“This is bizarre and problematic on several levels,” McConnell said. “Let’s be clear: the federal government does not instruct free citizens how they may gather in small groups with their own families….The White House confers a bully pulpit. It does not confer supreme authority over daily life.”
McConnell added that in Summer 2020, “many liberal politicians applauded massive outdoor gatherings because they supported a political cause. I’m not sure how much capital these officials have to micromanage backyard barbecues.” (The minority leader was referring to massive demonstrations in protest of the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers.)
McConnell’s remarks come as U.S. medical workers are giving a seven-day rolling average of 2.4 million vaccine shots, according to the Bloomberg coronavirus vaccine tracker. Over 21 percent of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, with over 11 percent of the populate fully inoculated against coronavirus.
The number of new daily cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has also dropped significantly since mid-January.
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