Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the face of the Republican party in Congress and embodies President Donald Trump’s legislative wing-man as the leader of GOP’s 53-47 majority in the Senate. McConnell, R-KY. was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and is Kentucky’s longest-serving Senator.
And with his Senate Majority at risk this November, McConnell is speaking at the Republican National Convention Thursday night to support Trump’s re-election campaign. “I am immensely proud of the work the Republican Senate has done. We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda. Like President Trump, we won’t be bullied by a liberal media intent on destroying America’s institutions,” McConnell said Thursday.
Despite some disagreements and the fact McConnell and Trump are very different politicians – McConnell known for thinking long term and speaking only when necessary while the president rarely has an unspoken thought – the Kentucky senator has been a crucial player for Trump’s agenda.
Here are some of the ways McConnell has been a key confidante to Trump while serving as Majority Leader:
In 2016, McConnell famously wouldn’t allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider the nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, who had been nominated President Barack Obama to fill an unexpected vacancy created by the death in February 2016 of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Because, as McConnell said, it was important for the Senate to “give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy” by waiting until the next president took office in January 2017.
“The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration,” McConnell said. “The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice.”
Garland’s nomination expired on January 3, 2017, with the Senate having taken no action on it. McConnell’s decision was a gamble, and Democrats still bring it up when decrying Republicans’ behavior.