Senate Leader Mitch McConnell sided with local school boards and employers who have decided to pass vaccine requirements, in comments in his home state of Kentucky, where he also expressed shock that people would not want to take the coronavirus vaccine.
“What I think as a civil servant is that those decisions should be made by school boards and employers,” said McConnell, who said goodbye to Republican governors such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who have competed with local school boards over mask mandates.
“They can weigh the evidence, look at the effectiveness and make those decisions. I think it’s better left to the employers and school boards,” said McConnell, speaking at the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy.
McConnell also expressed surprise at the rise in vaccine hesitancy — which has led to huge vaccine gaps in parts of the South, especially in counties that have heavily supported former President Donald Trump.
“Frankly, my friends, it never occurred to me that we would have a challenge getting people to take the vaccine, but that’s where we are,” McConnell said in comments posted by the recount.
Frankly, my friends, it never occurred to me that we would have a challenge getting people to take the vaccine, but that’s where we are,” said Senate President Mitch McConnell in his home state of Kentucky. He spoke at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Ham Breakfast at the Louisville state fair on Thursday, August 26
“Ninety percent of people in hospitals are not vaccinated,” he said, low numbers from top health officials putting the number even higher.
“We have a crisis of unvaccinated people,” he said. “I think we’re all baffled at how we’re tackling this problem. But it’s clear that more and more Americans are getting vaccinated, the only way is to end it.
His comments came on a weekend when Louisiana hospitals were packed with coronavirus patients, even as a massive Category 4 hurricane approached.
McConnell told WUKY, “I don’t think it serves any purpose to criticize others,” repeating that “the best thing for me is to say what I think about it and to try and encourage those people who care.” what I think to do the right thing.”
McConnell’s statements echo his statements at the Capitol, where he has supported vaccines but declined to bash fellow Republican lawmakers who had expressed doubts about them.
Home state Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has repeatedly emphasized the freedom people have not to choose a vaccine, even as he urged “risky” people like the elderly to get them after he became the first senator to announce he was positive for COVID -19 last year.
A nurse gives a girl a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Lyman High School in Longwood the day before classes for the 2021-22 school year begin
Christy Pavlish, left, and Lauren Birkins display signs as they cross the street during a protest outside a Broward County School Board meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to discuss a potential mask mandate when school begins next week
“I don’t think it serves any purpose to criticize others. I think it’s best to say what I feel about it,” McConnell said, receiving some scornful comments online from observers who have seen him set political opponents on fire about Obamacare, judicial nominations, campaign finance, Afghanistan, government spending and a range of subjects.
On Sunday, McConnell wouldn’t say directly whether he thinks Republican governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis should roll back their bans on schools and private entities that implement mask mandates.
“Do you think Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott are making a mistake by prohibiting individual institutions, school districts, from imposing mask mandates?” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked McConnell if Texas and Florida lead in COVID-19 case spikes.
“You know, I’m quite reluctant to advise governors on how to carry out their responsibilities during the pandemic,” he dodged, just as he did in his other comments.
“But I do think it’s important to remember that 90 percent of people in hospitals aren’t vaccinated,” McConnell continued. “So the answer to this is: get vaccinated. If we could keep saying that over and over, I think that’s the key.’