Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has acknowledged presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s apparent victory and expressed a willingness to work cooperatively with a prospective Biden administration, even while President Donald Trump continues to challenge the 2020 election results.
Now, in a move that is sure to anger Trump and Republicans further, McConnell also appeared to guarantee that Biden’s cabinet and administration nominees will be granted the courtesy of a confirmation vote in the Senate without delay.
McConnell congratulates President-elect Biden
The Washington Examiner noted that Leader McConnell first provoked President Trump’s ire last week when, following the Electoral College vote on Monday in favor of Biden, McConnell took to the Senate floor the next day to congratulate the Democratic challenger and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
“The Electoral College has spoken,” McConnell said last Tuesday. “So, today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years. I also want to congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Sen. Harris. Beyond our differences, all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.”
McConnell signals intent to cooperate
In an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, McConnell also indicated his intentions — should he remain the majority leader in the next term — of working cooperatively with Biden, who he admitted to having developed a “friendship” with during their shared decades in the Senate.
“Well, first of all, I am going to treat (Biden) a hell of a lot better than Chuck Schumer ever treated Donald Trump,” McConnell said, referencing the all-out resistance Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) waged against every single Trump administration nominee that came before the Senate.
Indeed, Schumer supported and led an unprecedented attempted blockade of virtually all of Trump’s picks by way of the Senate filibuster, to say nothing of the Democrats’ disgusting personal attacks on individual nominees. This behavior forced McConnell to invoke cloture — a procedural move to end a filibuster — an astonishing 128 times, including for McConnell’s own wife Elaine Chao, Trump’s pick to head the Transportation Department.
The Democrats’ constant filibusters and other delay tactics wasted hours upon hours of Senate time that could have been spent far more productively and most certainly contributed to the heightened acrimony and partisanship that dominates Washington D.C.
However, McConnell signaled that he will not follow the same path with Biden as president. He told the Courier-Journal, “[Biden’s nominees] aren’t all going to pass on a voice vote, and they aren’t all going to make it, but I will put them on the floor.”
Trump fires back
President Trump had already expressed his displeasure with McConnell’s apparent acceptance of Biden as the 2020 victor, writing in a tweet following the Senate leader’s post-Electoral College vote comments, “Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”
A few days later, Trump again took aim at McConnell, tweeting, “[email protected] and Republican Senators have to get tougher, or you won’t have a Republican Party anymore. We won the Presidential Election, by a lot. FIGHT FOR IT. Don’t let them take it away!”
Now, Axios is reporting that one of Trump’s top aides is working to undermine McConnell by emailing a specially prepared slide to other Republican lawmakers that appear to grant the president credit for McConnell’s recent re-election over Democratic challenger Amy McGrath. The slide, captioned, “Sadly, Mitch forgot. He was the first one off the ship,” displayed polling results that showed a tight race until Trump endorsed McConnell followed by another bump in the polls for the senator after a Trump robocall on his behalf occurred across the state of Kentucky in late October.