Mitch McConnell

McConnell Urges Trump to Get Behind Romney

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the New York Times that President Trump “should rally behind the Senate candidacy of Mitt Romney despite his blistering criticism in 2016, arguing that Mr. Romney’s potent bid was an illustration of the Republican Party’s improving fortunes entering a challenging midterm campaign.”

Said McConnell: “I can’t imagine that he’s not. We don’t want to lose the seat, and this looks like a pretty formidable candidate.”

What Does Mitch McConnell Want on Immigration?

Politico: “No one knows the GOP leader’s endgame, nor how he personally prefers the stalemate over Dreamers be resolved. It’s highly unusual for a Senate majority leader, particularly one as calculating as McConnell, to bring a divisive issue to the floor with no clearly intended result in sight. Even his top lieutenants aren’t sure whether McConnell would ultimately support a final immigration deal that can clinch the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate.”

Bloomberg: “The path ahead is even less certain in the House, where conservatives aren’t giving any ground. Speaker Paul Ryan would commit only to considering legislation that would meet Trump’s approval.”

McConnell Sees No Need to Protect Mueller

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he sees no need to act to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Bloomberg reports.

Said McConnell: “My understanding is there’s no effort under way to undermine or remove the special counsel. Therefore I don’t see any need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection.”

“McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if Trump sought to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.”

Biden Says McConnell Refused to Call Out Russians

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “stopped the Obama administration from speaking out about Russian interference in the 2016 campaign by refusing to sign on to a bipartisan statement of condemnation,” Politico reports.

That moment made Biden think “the die had been cast … this was all about the political play.”

“Biden said he and former President Obama worried that without a united front of bipartisanship, speaking out before the election would undermine the legitimacy of the election and American institutions in a way that would play into the Russians’ larger ambitions.”

McConnell and Schumer Hit Rock Bottom

“Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer were supposed to bring a new, more productive relationship to the Senate after years of bitterness and dysfunction at the helm of the chamber,” Politico reports.

“Instead, it’s been a year of slights and one-upmanship between the two men. While there may not be the level of vitriol that marked McConnell’s dealings with former Democratic leader Harry Reid, a new era of bipartisan comity this is not.”

A Better Bogeyman Than Trump?

National Journal: “In a break from the anti-Trump messaging that defined last cycle, Democratic strategists predict that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could in some races prove a more potent villain than the president, particularly in places where Trump easily defeated Hillary Clinton.”

“The reasoning cited for McConnell’s sudden usefulness in campaigns beyond a Republican primary: Trump’s approval rating is better than average in several GOP-leaning states, while Congress—and, by extension, McConnell—is far more disliked.”

Flashback Quote of the Day

“When Democrats couldn’t convince any of us that the Affordable Care Act was worth supporting as written, they decided to do it on their own and pass it on a party line vote. And now we’re seeing the result. The chaos this law has visited on our country isn’t just deeply tragic, it was entirely predictable. And that will always be the case if you approach legislation without regard for the views of the other side. Without some meaningful buy-in, you guarantee a food fight. You guarantee instability and strife.”

— Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in a speech four years ago.

Republicans Flee from McConnell Ahead of 2018 Primaries

Politico: “Heading into the 2018 elections, only one Republican Senate candidate nationwide has pledged unequivocally to back Mitch McConnell as majority leader. Most Republicans facing competitive primaries are hemming and hawing, admiring McConnell’s political savvy and fundraising apparatus — but also looking warily at his sinking approval ratings both with Republicans and the broader electorate.”

“Even in some of the red and purple states represented by Democratic senators where McConnell is hoping to pad his majority — places like Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin — the leading candidates are dodging questions about McConnell’s leadership or threatening to oppose him if the GOP Congress doesn’t deliver on the party’s legislative priorities in the coming months.”

McConnell Takes Hard Line on Sex Scandals

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has a well-documented history of showing little tolerance for sex scandals that he fears could tarnish the image of the Senate and his party,” the New York Times reports.

“He was a major force behind the effort to push out Larry E. Craig, the Idaho Republican arrested at the Minneapolis airport in 2007 in an undercover sex sting. And he was the chairman of the ethics committee when Senator Bob Packwood, the powerful Oregon Republican, resigned in 1995 under threat of expulsion after he was accused of sexual harassment.”

McConnell Allies Declare War on Steve Bannon

“Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared open warfare on Wednesday against Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and leader of an insurrection aimed at defeating mainstream GOP candidates in next year’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-KY) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.”

McConnell Plans Longer Work Weeks for Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “is preparing to hold the chamber in session for more rigorous workweeks, including Fridays and possibly even weekends,” Politico reports.

“The Senate GOP discussed a more aggressive schedule at Tuesday’s party lunch and the majority of the conference agreed.”

“The Senate has come under criticisms from conservatives for its light workweeks, typically spanning from Monday evening to early Thursday afternoon. But without buy-in from his members, it’s been difficult to hold the chamber in open longer without facing the possibility of attendance problems and failed votes.”

Trump Claims He’s Closer to McConnell Than Ever

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “held a surprise press conference following their lunch meeting at the White House Monday,” Axios reports.

Said Trump: “McConnell and I have been friends for a long time. We’re probably now, despite what you read, closer than ever before.”

However, earlier the New York Times reports Trump “offered support to Stephen Bannon, his former White House adviser, who has declared political war against members of the Republican establishment, including several senators like McConnell.”

Bannon Pledges War on McConnell

Stephen Bannon taunted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and vowed to challenge any Senate Republican who doesn’t publicly condemn attacks on President Trump, Politico reports.

Said Bannon: “Yeah, Mitch, the donors are not happy. They’ve all left you. We’ve cut your oxygen off… Nobody can run and hide on this one. These folks are coming for you.”

“Referencing Shakespeare, Bannon compared McConnell to Julius Caesar, adding that lawmakers are wondering who will emerge as Brutus, the character who reluctantly joins in on the assassination of Caesar for the benefit of Rome.”

“Bannon also predicted Trump would win in a landslide in 2020, securing 400 electoral votes.”