Schumer, McConnell race to cameras

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) swooped in front of the cameras staked out next to the Senate chamber just ahead of his Republican rival, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE (R-Ky.). 

The amusing moment came just before the weekly Senate press conferences. 

Schumer and McConnell are generally adversaries, and are seen as having a chilly relationship.

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But the Tuesday moment, which came as senators continue to debate a bipartisan infrastructure deal on the Senate floor, was all taken in good humor.

Right before McConnell could make it to the podium, Schumer swooped in from his right and cut off the Republican leader’s path, prompting gasps and whoops among the assembled reporters.

McConnell stopped dead in his tracks, appearing somewhat confused, holding out his arms as if to say, “What the heck is happening here?”

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Schumer turned around and flashed what can only be imagined as an impish grin and pumped his fist.

“The prerogatives of the majority,” Schumer quipped.

McConnell, however, took the one-upmanship in good humor and simply laughed.

“You all remember what they used to say about Chuck over in the House: You never want to get between Chuck and a camera,” McConnell joked as he and his leadership team were forced to step aside awkwardly and wait their turn. 

The Senate majority leader usually delivers remarks to the Capitol press corps first on Tuesdays, after the Senate Democratic caucus and the Republican conference hold their first lunches of the week.

Informal Senate protocol calls for McConnell, as minority leader, to speak after Schumer. But on occasions when the Democratic caucus lunch discussions run long, and Schumer is nowhere to be seen in the Ohio Clock Corridor, sometimes McConnell will speak first.