The Relationship Between McConnell and Trump Was Good for Both — Until It Wasn’t


“It really did have an impact on the election,” Mr. Trump mentioned on the celebration within the East Room. “People knew me very well, but they didn’t know, ‘Is he liberal? Conservative?’”

Mr. McConnell, the canny Senate chief, and Mr. Trump, the Washington novice immediately ensconced within the White House, turned a workforce. It was not a terrific personal match. Mr. McConnell spilled nothing of his intentions; Mr. Trump spilled all.

Mr. Trump couldn’t relate to the buttoned-lip strategy of Mr. McConnell as he made clear this week in his scathing assertion describing Mr. McConnell as “dour, sullen and unsmiling.” Mr. McConnell held personal disdain for Mr. Trump and noticed a flawed persona with a sketchy historical past who was under no circumstances versed within the customs and rites of Washington.

But because the Trump period opened, Mr. McConnell was simply joyful that Mr. Trump didn’t grow to be a Democrat, although some congressional Republicans weren’t so positive. And it didn’t harm that Mr. Trump introduced on Mr. McConnell’s spouse, Elaine Chao, as transportation secretary.

“Back during the campaign, there were a lot of questions: Is Trump really a conservative? A lot of questions about it,” Mr. McConnell advised The New York Times in February 2017 because the chaotic White House arrange store. “But if you look at the steps that have been taken so far, looks good to me.”

As he regarded, Mr. McConnell, lengthy obsessive about the federal courts, noticed alternative. Even earlier than Mr. Trump was sworn in, Mr. McConnell approached Donald F. McGahn II, the incoming White House counsel, about establishing an meeting line of judicial nominees to fill vacancies brought on by Republicans’ refusal to contemplate Obama administration nominees.

The pursuits of the Trump administration and Mitch McConnell had aligned. He prioritized appeals court docket judges, eradicated the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees and stood by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh regardless of accusations of sexual misconduct. He pushed Justice Amy Coney Barrett simply days earlier than the 2020 presidential election regardless of utilizing the strategy of the 2016 election to dam Judge Merrick B. Garland’s nomination eight months earlier than the voting. The judicial success supplied each the president and the Republican chief with a legacy.


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