The collapse of President Joe Biden’s baffling plan to nominate longtime Republican Chad Meredith as a federal judge in Kentucky has left Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a standoff much like the Spider-Men pointing meme.
Bristling at McConnell’s accusation that he was responsible for scrambling Meredith’s nomination by not providing the “blue slip” consenting to the pick, Paul told reporters on Monday that the GOP leader never told him about an agreement with Biden on Meredith to begin with. Paul said he only heard about the nomination from the FBI.
“McConnell did whatever secret deal he did with the White House without talking to me,” Paul said. “And so we simply said that we’re not against Meredith, but McConnell is going to at least discuss it with his other state senator.”
Paul argued that the fiasco was, in fact, the other Kentucky Republican’s fault.
“I think ultimately, McConnell is to blame for tanking this thing, because he tried to do it secretly, Democrats caught wind down of it in the state and they also tried to do it secretly even from his Republican counterpart,” he said.
On Friday, McConnell slammed Paul’s “just utterly pointless” objection to Meredith’s nomination after White House spokesperson Andrew Bates announced that Biden was abandoning the plan because Paul wouldn’t hand over the blue slip.
“The net result of this is it has prevented me from getting my kind of judge out of a liberal Democratic president,” the Republican Senate leader fumed while speaking to the New York Times.
As an extra jab at his fellow Kentuckian, McConnell also scoffed at the idea that Biden would ever consult with Paul on a judicial appointment.
“The President would not have been taking a recommendation from Rand Paul, I can assure you,” he said.
Though Paul and Kentucky Democrats have suggested that McConnell had some kind of backroom deal with Biden to somehow convince the President to appoint an anti-abortion conservative to a lifelong position on the bench even after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the GOP leader told the New York Times that he hadn’t promised Biden anything.
Per McConnell, the President agreed to nominate an anti-choice Federalist Society member simply in the spirit of friendship as red states torch women’s and other people who can get pregnant’s abortion and reproductive rights.
“There was no deal,” McConnell said. “This was a personal friendship gesture.”