The GOP’s leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, joined me to discuss today’s ruling on the president’s recess appointments power.
HH: Joined now by the leader of the Republicans in the United States Senate, Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky. Senator McConnell, welcome, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you, particularly on a day when your view and my view of the Constitution prevails 9-0 in the United States Supreme Court.
MM: Yeah, I mean, I think, Hugh, today it’s pretty clear this President’s behavior with regard to recess appointments was so egregious that it produced a 9-0 Supreme Court decision, Justice Breyer, of all people, writing, in which the Court basically said the Senate gets to decide when it’s in session, not the President. The President had, in really an audacious move, decided that he got to determine when the Senate was in session when we were in fact following a procedure that we had followed for many years of coming in every three days in order to prevent recess appointments. And he, the imperial President Obama, decided he knew more than we did, and just, he tried to establish that he got to decide when we were in session. It was particularly maddening, Hugh, I would just add one other thing, it was particularly maddening, because at the same time he decided we were not in session, for purposes of the recess appointments, in other words, giving him the opportunity to make the recess appointments, he was more than happy to sign a bill that we passed on a voice vote during that same period that he was in favor of.
HH: And he was also happy to pass you by on notice of the transfer of the prisoners, when many of you were in town, including the leadership of the Senate. So he is pretty astonishing, but he has now assembled twelve 9-0 decisions against him, which makes him the equivalent of the manager of the 1962 Mets when it comes to the Department of Justice. Do you think this will humble him a little bit going into the last two years of his presidency?
MM: I wouldn’t bet on it. I think the only thing that’ll humble Barack Obama is the American people giving us a Republican Senate so we can, for the first time, actually challenge him. You know, he’s not vetoed a single bill in six years, and the reason for it is he never gets anything he doesn’t like, because of the United States Senate and Harry Reid and the Democratic majority. So I think the best way to push back against this president is for the American people to change the Senate, to make me the offensive coordinator instead of the defensive coordinator, give us an opportunity to pass a budget, to pass appropriation bills, to actually restrict the funding of some of this outrageous behavior not only on his part, but on the part of the various agencies, EPA, for example, that are causing this persistent joblessness in the country.
HH: Now you won a sweeping victory in the primary, and the Republican Party in Kentucky has come together, and www.teammitch.com is where people can come to help you. Meanwhile, though, your very left wing opponent has got everybody in Hollywood – Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Katzenberg, you name it, every big lefty in Tinseltown goes back, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, they go from New York to L.A. to fundraisers for your opponent. And they’re raising a boatload of dough. How is the small donor base for www.teammitch.com?
MM: Well, we can always use more. I don’t think we’ll be underfunded, but you know, they don’t even know who she is. They do know who I am.
MM: And there’s nothing the political left would like more this year than to defeat me, because they view me as the President’s most prominent adversary, and I think that’s correct. And so she’ll be able to constantly reload not only from major donors like the ones you mentioned, these Hollywood types, but their direct mail donor list is full of left wingers who have only heard of one Republican who is running this year, and that’s me. So I fully expect she’ll have a well-funded race. But she’s running on pretty tough turf. She’s a new face, but she’s a new face for no change at all, the same Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, a senate controlled by Obama supporters. And the argument I’m making to my folks is you know, if you don’t want any change, then you vote for this new face, because she’ll make sure the status quo is maintained for the last two years of Barack Obama.
HH: Now we have a minute left, Senator, and I know you’re a diplomat, but if the RNC is down to Cleveland and Dallas for the 2016 Republican Convention, since I hail from Northeastern Ohio, I’ve had on both [Attorney General] Abbott and Governor Kasich today. Is the leader of the Republicans in the senior chamber about to make a prediction of where that convention is going to land?
MM: No, I have no idea. I mean, you’re the same guy who was predicting Teddy Bridgewater was going to be in Cleveland. And he ended up in Minnesota. So you’re probably not any better a predictor of these things than I am.
HH: Well, Wiggins tonight. Watch number one, Wiggins going to Cleveland tonight. Senator McConnell, always a pleasure, www.teammitch.com. Congratulations on a big win on the recess appointments case. That matters. That matters a great deal, America. It restores some Constitutional balance of the sort that Senator McConnell has been arguing for, for many, many years.
End of interview.