We earlier noted that Mitch McConnell had worked out a deal in December to keep the government running. Trump said he’d sign it, then rightwing talk show hosts convinced Trump to flip-flop. Then, after the response to the shutdown went badly, Trump agreed to let McConnell do his job. McConnell tried to get Trump’s plan passed, but it failed. So Trump pushed to have the government open—without even getting the border funding that was in the previous agreement in December.
Now, it appears that McConnell plans to do things his own way, such as the “rebuke” of Trump regarding Afghanistan and Syria, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The vast majority of Senate Republicans backed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday in a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s rationale for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, voting to declare that the Islamic State’s continued operations in both countries poses a serious threat to the United States.
It’s important to note that the amendment was not just approved by McConnell. It was authored by him, according to The Hill.
“My amendment would also urge continued commitment from the U.S. military and our partners until we have set the conditions for the enduring defeat of these vile terrorists,” he said.
The resurgent McConnell seems to be everywhere. If you Google “McConnell Rebukes Trump,” you’ll get a whole list, even from the Japan Times–this time, about the funding negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday criticized both tactics that President Donald Trump has threatened to wield if congressional bargainers fail to craft a border security deal he supports: triggering a fresh government shutdown or declaring a national emergency so he can divert federal funds into building his prized border wall. . .
The remarks by McConnell, who seemed to include Trump in his intended audience, underscored the GOP’s eagerness to put the past month’s confrontations between Trump and Congress behind them without more jarring clashes. Reporters had not specifically asked McConnell about a shutdown or a possible emergency declaration, and it was noteworthy that the guarded lawmaker volunteered his opinions. . .
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters Tuesday that any agreement does not need to include the word “wall.”
McConnell wants to talk about “security” and not a “wall,” but Trump won’t budge, according to business channel, CNBC.
“I don’t expect much coming out of this committee,” Trump told reporters at a midday photo-op. “I keep hearing the words ‘we’ll give you what you want.’ The problem is, if they don’t give us a wall, it doesn’t work. Without a wall, it doesn’t work.”
McConnell also said he doesn’t want to see Trump use emergency powers to get that wall
This is not new. McConnell previously “distanced himself” from Trump on a number of other issues—such as Russia, voter fraud, and Trump’s attack on a Bush-installed judge.
Fox says Senate Republicans are singling out Trump’s stand on Russian sanctions.
In a remarkable rebuke of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House, eleven Republicans on Tuesday joined with unanimous Democrats to keep alive a resolution opposing the Trump administration’s decision to diminish sanctions against Russia.
A law was passed in 2015 that outlaws the use or threat of force in American interrogation of detainees.
“The director of the CIA has made it clear that he’s going to follow the law. I believe virtually all of members are comfortable with the state of the law,” McConnell said.
The White House brought the issue back to the forefront after a draft presidential order leaked. The document proposed to reopen overseas CIA black sites to interrogate suspected terrorists, and to review more aggressive interrogation techniques, referred to during the Bush administration as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Business Insider says McConnell rebuked Trump regarding the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, issued a strong statement following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying he is “particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership.”
Another issue is Trump’s attempt to dismiss the evidence of Saudi Arabia’s murder and dismemberment of a legal American resident,
“The current relationship with Saudi Arabia is not working,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who opposed the Yemen resolution but called the crown prince “so toxic, so tainted, so flawed” after the Khashoggi’s killing that “you’re never going to have a relationship with the United States Senate unless things change.”
The bipartisan votes came two months after the Saudi journalist’s slaying at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and after Trump persistently equivocated over who was responsible. U.S. intelligence officials concluded that bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has repeatedly praised the kingdom.
Senators made clear where they put the blame. The resolution, passed by unanimous agreement, says the Senate believes the crown prince is “responsible for the murder” and calls for the Saudi Arabian government to “ensure appropriate accountability.”
The Senate also rebuked Trump’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
Senators voted 56-41 to recommend that the U.S. stop supporting the war in Yemen, a direct affront to the administration’s war powers abilities.
And, of course, McConnell has condemned white nationalists, much to Trump’s chagrin.
The point is, if Trump thought there would be smooth sailing now that he has an extra Republican or two in the Senate, he’s mistaken. The body is making it clear that they intend to have a voice in national and international affairs, from now on. And Mitch McConnell plans to lead the charge.