Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered rare words of praise for President Obama Tuesday by complimenting his commitment to free trade despite the opposition of many Democrats.

It was a surprising burst of warmth in an icy relationship, something McConnell jokingly acknowledged to reporters. 

{mosads}“At the risk of having some of you literally faint, I want to compliment the president for the way he’s handling the trade issue,” he said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

“I thought what he did last year in speaking the truth to his base was welcome and shows that he is intent on working with us to get both the Trade Promotion Authority in place and to subsequently approve, hopefully, [the] Trans-Pacific Partnership deal,” he added.

McConnell said working closely with the White House on trade legislation has “been almost an out-of-body experience.”

“We’re working to get together to try to get it across the finish line,” he said.

The relationship between McConnell and Obama has been fraught with tension since Obama became president more than six years ago.

McConnell famously said in 2010 “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Obama joked at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2013 that he couldn’t imagine having a drink with the GOP leader.

“Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress, ” he cracked. “ ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. “Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”

Tags Barack Obama fast-track Mitch McConnell TPA Trade
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video