Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks Biden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Billionaire tax gains momentum MORE (R-Ky.) says he is perplexed by President Obama’s defiant attitude after a “butt-kicking” for Democrats in the midterm elections.
“By any objective standard, the president got crushed in this election, so I’ve been perplexed by the reaction since the election, the sort of in-your-face, dramatic move to the left,” McConnell said Tuesday at an event sponsored by The Wall Street Journal CEO Council.
Obama issued an executive order last month protecting as many as 5 million illegal residents from deportation, one in a series of moves since the elections that have been cheered by his liberal base.
McConnell expressed surprise over “the way the president has reacted to what can only be described as a butt-kicking election.”
He dismissed the Democrats’ argument that they lost control of the Senate because of an unfavorable map that required them to defend seats in states carried by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.
“Maybe you could explain away us winning red states with Senate races. How do you explain the governor of Maryland, the governor of Massachusetts, the governor of Illinois?” he asked.
McConnell said he is willing to work with Obama but acknowledged what he called deep philosophical differences.
“I don’t know what we can expect in terms of reaching bipartisan agreement. That’s my first choice, to look for the things we actually agree on, if there are any,” he said.
He suggested that Republicans could break up the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill and pass it piecemeal in the next Congress.
He said Obama could have a chance to sign into law measures strengthening border security and expanding visas for tech and agricultural workers.
The GOP leader noted that he and Vice President Biden negotiated the most significant bipartisan bills to pass Congress since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. One such bill made permanent most of the tax rates established under former President George W. Bush but allowed the top rates to rise.