Senate

Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama

Greg Nash

Former staffers for President Obama and former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday ripped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for criticizing Democratic leaders for declining a meeting with President Trump, saying McConnell used to pretend to be busy to avoid scheduling meetings with Obama.

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“I never refused to go to a meeting that President Obama called,” McConnell told reporters after Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) canceled a scheduled meeting with Trump, McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). 

McConnell said Schumer and Pelosi’s decision showed “a lack of seriousness” to work toward a deal on a government spending bill before the end of the year. 

“McConnell would also pretend to be ‘busy’ to prevent a meeting from being scheduled because he didn’t want his base to see him with Obama,” former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted. 

“Can confirm,” replied Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff for Reid.

Other reporters pointed out that McConnell refused a meeting with Obama in 2010, opting instead to attend a dinner for the conservative Federalist Society.

Schumer and Pelosi backed out of the meeting after Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he didn’t “see a deal” with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. 

“Meeting with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ today about keeping government open and working,” Trump had said. “Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”

Democrats have insisted that any funding deal include protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children after Trump announced plans to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this year.

“Given that the President doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” Schumer said in a statement Tuesday. 

Tags Charles Schumer Harry Reid Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Paul Ryan

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