Politics McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath

13:40  09 may  2021
13:40  09 may  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Trump hits McConnell again, saying GOP needs new leadership

  Trump hits McConnell again, saying GOP needs new leadership Former President Donald Trump on Thursday renewed his feud with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by calling for Senate Republicans to find a new leader ahead of the midterm election, suggesting doing so would boost their chances of taking back the upper chamber next year.Asked by Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo how Republicans will fare in the 2022 election, Trump said he expects GOP candidates to do very well but said the party needs new leadership in the Senate. "I think we're going to do very well. We need good leadership.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Friday that whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will get a vote on the Senate floor, signaling a historic fight in Congress over one of the most polarizing issues in American politics.

One vote McConnell can't rely on is that of Vice President Mike Pence, who has "no role in impeachment," according to a GOP leadership aide, despite being president of the Senate with the mandate to break ties. Pence' s power , which applies to legislation and nominations, isn't in effect when the Senate is weighing On that final vote, 67 votes would be needed to convict Trump and remove him from office. The other senator, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said it "would make more sense" to move to vote on the articles of impeachment -- with their 67-vote requirement -- than on a motion to

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is safe in his job despite repeated attack from former President Trump, Republican aides and strategists say.

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump © Greg Nash/Getty Images Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump

At the same time, GOP sources say that McConnell's long-term future atop the Senate GOP may depend on what happens in the 2022 and 2024 elections and whether Trump, who is strongly considering another presidential campaign, expands his power in the party.

The key difference between McConnell and Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House GOP leader whose ouster is a foregone conclusion this week, is that McConnell's focus is not on firing away at Trump. Instead, McConnell is focused on opposing President Biden's agenda and protecting GOP Senate seats in 2022.

McConnell, Republicans demand the 1619 Project not taught

  McConnell, Republicans demand the 1619 Project not taught Thirty-seven Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded that the U.S. Department of Education not teach the 1619 Project because it puts a 'divisive agenda' over accuracy.Politico Playbook first reported that McConnell penned a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on behalf of himself and 37 Senate Republican colleagues asking the nation's education chief not to include The New York Times' controversial project in a curriculum update.

McConnell said he supported Trump pursuing legal avenues in the wake of his loss to Biden, but “over and over the courts rejected these claims including all-star judges whom the president himself has nominated.” Trump ’ s allegations of fraud, he continued, do not equate to be massive enough to tip the scales of the election. It took Mitch McConnell four long years, the loss of the White House for his party, and the loss of his title as Senate Majority Leader before he finally spoke out against Donald Trump ’ s corrupt abuse of power . pic.twitter.com/nYzI9f4URb.

After McConnell spoke, Trump once again tweeted a warning, saying, "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the 00 payments ASAP." Despite all the political back-and-forth, late Tuesday afternoon Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that paper checks would begin to be sent out Wednesday, including a link where Americans can check on the status of their relief payments. This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Since delivering a scathing speech on the Senate floor accusing the former president of being "morally responsible" for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, McConnell has generally avoided commenting on Trump or his false claims that Biden won the presidency because of widespread fraud.

McConnell on Thursday waved off a question about Trump's latest criticism of his leadership, telling reporters in Kentucky that he's more focused on Biden.

"I'm focused entirely on the present and the future not the past," he said. "My view at the moment is we need to turn this administration into a moderate administration."

Cheney, by contrast, has called out colleagues for perpetuating the "big lie" that Trump lost because of fraudulent votes, annoying a number of GOP lawmakers.

McConnell says GOP open to $600 billion for infrastructure

  McConnell says GOP open to $600 billion for infrastructure LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that Republicans are willing to spend up to $600 billion on infrastructure, far less than President Joe Biden is seeking, even as he ruled out supporting a higher corporate tax rate to pay for it. Instead McConnell is endorsing the $568 billion public works plan from his Republican colleagues that has a smaller price tag, a narrower definition of infrastructure and is funded by fees rather than tax increases.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate would have no choice but to take up impeachment if the House votes to effectively charge President Donald Trump . The House Intelligence Committee' s investigation could lead to a full chamber vote to impeach the president. If the House impeaches, the Republican-held Senate would then hold a trial on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. Despite the current lack of support for the inquiry among Senate Republicans, McConnell said the chamber by rule would have no choice but to follow through with the process.

Trump had dragged his feet on signing the bill, saying the checks were too small. Democrats, who had pushed for higher one-off payments to Americans during months of negotiations, revived those efforts on Monday after Trump made clear he also wanted more. Still, McConnell has rejected Schumer's call for a standalone Senate vote on the increased stimulus checks. Overturning a presidential veto requires votes by two-thirds of the House and Senate. The House voted for an override on Monday and if the Senate follows, the bill becomes law despite Trump ' s opposition.

She penned an op-ed for The Washington Post on Wednesday in which she warned "the GOP is at a turning point" and that "history is watching us," challenging her Republican colleagues to reject Trump's repeated claims of election fraud.

She even called out her own leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), for changing his story about whether he holds Trump responsible for the Jan. 6 attack.

Ex-aides loyal to McConnell say their former boss is playing the intraparty divisions with skill.

"He said what he said, he made his views known and every time he's been asked about it since, he's said, 'Look, you know my views on it, I'm focused on the future.' And that's what his conference wants him to do and that's what Liz Cheney's conference wants her to do," said Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist and former McConnell campaign adviser.

"The difference in these situations is McConnell as a member of leadership is endeavoring not to become a distraction or liability for his conference whereas Cheney is, as far as I know from the coverage, is actually angering some people who voted for impeachment for her zeal for expressing her views," he added. "McConnell is not making that mistake."

McConnell says focus is on 'stopping' Biden agenda as Trump continues to push election lies

  McConnell says focus is on 'stopping' Biden agenda as Trump continues to push election lies Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that his focus was on “stopping” President Biden’s administration, citing the unity in his caucus. “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” McConnell said during a press conference in Kentucky when asked if he was concerned that Republicans who acknowledged Biden as the rightful winner of the 2020 election could face political liabilities. “One hundred percent of my focus is on standing up to this administration,” McConnell continued. “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from [moderate Maine Sen.] Susan Collins to [conservative Texas Sen.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters on Monday that the Senate would pass the National Defense Authorization Act despite President Trump ' s veto threat. The NDAA allocates trillion in U.S. defense spending and has been passed every year for the past 59 years. However, Trump has threatened to veto the bill unless legislators revoke Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which shields online publishers from liability for some content uploaded by third-party users.

Trump has been on a tear against McConnell since the failure of a series of Senate bills to replace or repeal the Affordable Care Act in late July. The school district reopened Monday for the first time since closing at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, despite pushback from the Chicago Teachers Union, which claims that proper protocols are not in place to keep teachers and students safe from the virus. At least 145 CPS teachers were absent Tuesday without official leave, ABC Chicago station WLS reported.

At the same time, Trump's repeated calls for Senate Republicans to replace McConnell as their leader raises questions about his future.

Al Cross, a professor of journalism at the University of Kentucky and longtime commentator on Kentucky politics, said Republican senators are more insulated from Trump's current popularity with GOP voters because they serve six-year terms.

But he warned that if Trump maintains his influence among Republican voters, sooner or later there may be a reckoning for McConnell.

Video: ‘Be bold, go big’: Sen. Bernie Sanders on how Democrats can hold onto power (MSNBC)

"I do think if Trump continues to gain power within the party that it will complicate things for McConnell," he said.

Chip Saltsman, a Republican strategist, said Trump's popularity with the Republican base is as strong as ever and predicts he will continue to be a major force in Republican politics.

"Do I think the president is going to be active in Republican politics beyond this cycle? Yes, maybe with two exclamation points. The reason I say that is he loves it, he's good at it and he fires up the base like I haven't seen in a long time," he said.

Biden still 'ready to compromise' on infrastructure plan despite McConnell comments

  Biden still 'ready to compromise' on infrastructure plan despite McConnell comments President Joe Biden said he's "willing to hear ideas from both sides" of the aisle to get an infrastructure deal done, but Sen. Mitch McConnell stands in the way. "I’m willing to hear ideas from both sides," Biden said. "I’m ready to compromise. What I’m not ready to do, I’m not ready to do nothing. I’m not ready to have another period where America has another infrastructure month and doesn't change a damn thing.

Saltsman said Trump is able to generate grassroots excitement in the early months of a nonelection year like might be expected six or eight weeks before an election.

"Trump can do that on a Tuesday afternoon about whatever he wants to do it," he said. "His greatest superpower is activation of the base," noting that energizing Republican voters will be critical to winning future elections.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said Trump will be critical to the future political success of the party, cautioning Senate GOP colleagues who hope to make a clean break of the former president.

"I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no," Graham told Fox News's Sean Hannity.

"I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him," Graham said.

Saltsman said the six-year terms served by senators is a key difference with the House that insulates McConnell to a degree.

He said McConnell will stay leader "as long as he's got a majority of senators on the Republican side who want him to be," pointing out that McConnell maintains strong support in his conference.

"The Senate is a little more methodical and moves a little slower and takes their time on things, not only on issues but politics, too," he said.

University of Louisville criticizes alum Mitch McConnell for 1619 slavery comments

  University of Louisville criticizes alum Mitch McConnell for 1619 slavery comments The Kentucky Republican said Monday he doesn't see 1619, often seen as the start of American slavery, as one of U.S. history's most important points.U of L's interim senior associate vice president for diversity and equity, Dr. V. Faye Jones, sent out a campuswide email Thursday in which she said McConnell's comments "are quite troubling for American descendants of slaves, our allies and those who support us.

A senior Republican aide said McConnell is safe because he's not pressing any argument with Trump, unlike Cheney.

"I don't think Trump is any threat to McConnell. The reason Cheney's getting kicked out isn't because of whatever she believes, it's because she won't stop talking about it," the aide said.

"Many members want Trump to go away and the easiest way to make him go away is you stop talking about him," the aide added.

The aide said the question is whether McConnell decides to remain as Senate Republican leader after the 2022 midterms. He is 79 years old and was just elected to a seventh term, which expires at the end of 2026.

McConnell has also traveled his home state and given public remarks on an almost daily basis during the two-week April recess and the early-May recess, staying as active as if he were up for reelection next year.

But McConnell was also the mastermind behind the passage of a new state law that requires in the event of a Senate seat vacancy the governor appoint a successor who is of the same party and chosen from a list of three names provided by the senator's state party's executive committee.

The law would prevent Gov. Andy Beshear (D) from appointing a Democrat to fill a vacant Senate seat.

McConnell's role in pushing the law prompted speculation that he may be laying the groundwork for retiring from the Senate before his full term is up, though he quickly dismissed that possibility.

"I'm not going anywhere. I just got elected to a six-year term, and I'm still the leader of my party in the Senate," he said in late March.

The GOP aide said McConnell is helped by the fact that no other Republican senator is gunning to replace him as leader.

"There's nobody champing at the bit," the aide said.

Mitch McConnell says he has no plans to step down as Senate GOP leader or retire: 'I'm at the top of my game' .
"I'm still in the height of my career," the 79-year-old senator, who's served since 1985, said in a recent interview."I'm still in the height of my career," the 79-year-old told local PBS station Kentucky Educational Television. "I'm at the top of my game.

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