Senator Mitch McConnell has stiff-armed Donald Trump in every turn since the former president left the White House, ignoring his political demands and ignoring attempts to dismiss him as a minority leader.
This week, the Kentucky Republican reached an agreement with the Senate Democrats to temporarily raise the debt ceiling over Trump’s objections and calls for him to be replaced as the House’s top Republican, a perch he has possessed for nearly 15 years. It is part of a pattern that has been repeated since the defeat of the former president last November. Trump insists that McConnell support or oppose some policy or take a course of action, and the minority leader falls.
Trump has recently escalated his feud with McConnell by advocating for his removal as Senate minority leader. “Mitch is not the guy, not the real guy, he’s not doing the job,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. McConnell’s reaction has been the same – no reaction; and not the slightest hint of changing his leadership strategy to satisfy a former president who happens to maintain a high level of support among grassroots Republican voters.
“McConnell has a goal: to help Republicans regain control of the Senate with the goal of adopting Republican political goals and stifling the democratic agenda,” said Scott Jennings, a Louisville Republican operator and longtime McConnell adviser. »Trump escapes from one PR [gambit] to the next; McConnell plays a longer game where there are actual political and political goals at the end of a journey. ”
McConnell and Trump intervened periodically during the 45th presidency, but usually found common ground on major legislation and appointments to the executive branch and the federal judiciary. But their relationship has grown wildly since Trump lost his bid for another term to President Joe Biden, and McConnell refused to join his imaginative claims that the 2020 election was stolen and recognized the incoming government. They have only become more alienated from each side since.
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In the disappearing days of Trump’s presidency, McConnell became an outspoken critic of his leadership, though he voted against sentencing him on a single article on charges that he began ransacking the U.S. Capitol by his grassroots supporters on January 6. the ensuing months, when Trump issued violent statements criticizing McConnell and giving him marching orders on how to deal with the Biden agenda, the Kentuckian gave him the cold shoulder.
McConnell, 79, has not accepted, nor has he responded to the 75-year-old former president’s provocations.
This approach — whether it asked Trump to lead nearly 20 Republicans to join the Senate Democrats in supporting Biden’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure package or agreeing to give enough GOP votes to pass a two-month debt increase , $ 480 billion — has helped the seventh-term senator maintain the confidence and support of the 49 Republicans he manages, some of whom are strong Trump supporters. Others present themselves in this way in public because they are clarifying a presidential bid from 2024.
“Obviously, Mitch did the calculation, I really think the right way to deal with Trump was to turn the page,” said a Republican senator, requesting anonymity to speak honestly. “The idea of someone challenging Mitch is far off.”
To explain an important aspect of why Trump’s calls to push McConnell out of the leadership have gone unheard, this Republican compared the minority leader to the rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has emerged as a harsh critic of the former president since Jan. 6 and lost her No. 3 ranking as House GOP conference chairman because of it. In other words, McConnell has not made his quarrel with Trump a problem for his members.
“He probably feels just as strongly about Trump, if not more than Cheney, but realizes that the cautious approach is not to comment,” the senator said. “Mitch is just a lot more disciplined. When you are in leadership, you will not be the story. ”
McConnell occasionally comes under friendly fire for his decisions and did so again after reaching an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York to allow for the short-term increase in the debt limit. Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, complained that McConnell had withdrawn under pressure after saying there would be no GOP votes since mid-summer to extend the U.S. Treasury Department’s ability to borrow money.
“Here’s our problem as Republicans: We said for two months that we should do one thing, in the end we did another,” the South Carolina Republican said in comments on the Senate floor. “I think it matters to the people who listen to us – and have some faith in us.”
But over the years, albeit in the midst of some exceptions, McConnell tends not to act or chart a way forward without first discussing issues with individual Republican senators, taking into account their concerns and recommendations. This means that no matter how the GOP votes shake beyond a particular piece of legislation or outrageous parliamentary procedure, it is likely that McConnell’s strategy has been blessed by the vast majority of his conference.
“He does not draw people kicking and screaming to anything,” a Republican lobbyist said. “He makes decisions based on lots of conversations. That’s an important key. ”
Ironically, a high-profile issue in recent years where McConnell did not first ask his members about their preference was his decision to block Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama.
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Immediately after the death of Conservative Judge Antonin Scalia in early 2016, McConnell announced that Garland, now the U.S. Attorney General, would not even receive a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, let alone a vote on the Senate floor. McConnell said rather that voters should decide who should appoint his successor according to their election for president between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton the following November.
That freelance move by McConnell, then the majority leader, proved to be quite popular among Senate Republicans. In the end, it was also a big boost to Trump’s prospects.
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Tags: News, Promotions, Elections in 2022, Elections in 2024, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, Debt Limit, Debt Ceiling
Original author: David M. Drucker
Original location: Mitch McConnell stiff arms Trump as former president calls for him to be ousted