McConnell: GOP Will Have Political Winds ‘In Our Face’ During Midterms

on January 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that the political winds will be “in our face” during the 2018 midterm elections.

“This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell told Kentucky Today. “We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5.”

“I’m hoping we can hold the Senate,” the majority leader added. “And the principal reason for that, even if we were to lose the House and be stymied legislatively, we could still approve appointments, which is a huge part of what we do.”

Separately in the interview, McConnell said that blocking former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from receiving a confirmation hearing following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia was “was the most consequential decision I’ve made in my entire public career.”

Fourteen months after Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees to confirm Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, with a 54-45 vote.

Similar Senate obstruction prevented dozens of Obama’s lower court nominees from receiving confirmation votes.

McConnell cited the subsequent wave of Trump-nominated judges as a lasting legacy. Recounting a conversation with the White House counsel soon after Trump’s election to Kentucky Today, McConnell said he suggested Trump nominate young judges.

“I said ‘we’ve got a chance to transform the country in a very significant way for the next generation if we can get our act together,’” McConnell said. 

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