Pelosi: McConnell in for rude awakening when Biden takes office
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday suggested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be in for a rude awakening early next year when President-elect Joe Biden is in the White House.
Pelosi told reporters that despite losses in the House and the Senate majority still up for grabs, Democrats had claimed the biggest, most important prize of the 2020 election: ousting President Trump.
“May I remind you that we have a president of the United States, we have a president of the United States. That is so very important. And whether you’re in the minority or majority, if the president is of your party, you have more power,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol.
“And I think that that’s what Mitch McConnell is going to find out now, that whether you’re in the [Senate] majority or the minority, not having Donald Trump in the White House is going to change his leverage and that dynamic,” she added.
McConnell has frustrated Pelosi and the Democrats for years with his laser focus on confirming Trump’s judicial nominees, including three Supreme Court picks, and blocking bills passed by the Democratic-led House. Pelosi has blasted McConnell as a “grim reaper” of the Senate, presiding over a legislative graveyard; it’s a nickname the GOP leader has worn as a badge of honor.
Asked to elaborate about her characterization of McConnell, Pelosi portrayed her Senate counterpart as a “yes man” to Trump who had no respect for the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
“Well, he’s been known to come to my office and say, ‘I’m not doing anything Donald Trump doesn’t want.’ So to me, that was like an abdication of your first branch of government responsibility. You’re just going to do whatever the president wants? No. This is a separation of power. … The genius of our Constitution,” Pelosi said.
“So, again for the good of the country, I am so overjoyed that Joe Biden is president of United States, his decency, his vision, his values … But I also know that he respects the legislative branch, and that there’s a collaboration and we will work together to put legislation together,” she said.
But if Democrats don’t flip both Georgia Senate runoff elections and McConnell is able to remain in power as majority leader, it’s almost certain that the Kentucky Republican will cause more headaches for Democrats. He would be in a strong position to block or stall Biden Cabinet and judicial nominations and block any legislation backed by Biden and Pelosi.
The Biden-McConnell relationship will be put to the test next year, especially if control of the Senate stays in GOP hands. The two leaders were longtime colleagues in the Senate, and they later struck deals on major must-pass legislation when Biden was vice president.
Biden has promised to work toward unifying the country after four years of Trump, but McConnell has yet to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect, insisting that “all legal ballots must be counted” as Trump contests the results of the election.
Pelosi said the results of the election are irrefutable, and urged Republicans to face reality and stop their “tactics of delay, distort and deny,” which she said are hampering America’s effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“The election is over. Joe Biden is the president-elect elected with a mandate of over 78 million votes,” she said.