McConnell won’t go to White House signing ceremony for infrastructure bill
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he won’t attend a White House signing ceremony for a bipartisan infrastructure deal that he voted for and has touted while in Kentucky this week.
“No, I’ve got other things I’ve got to do other than go to the signing ceremony,” McConnell said during an interview with WHAS, a Kentucky radio station, when asked if he would be attending.
McConnell is one of 19 Senate Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill in the Senate earlier this year. The House passed the bill last week with the support of 13 House Republicans.
But his support for the bill has sparked criticism from former President Trump, who lashed out at the Senate GOP leader as recently as this week, questioning in a statement why “Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan.”
McConnell and Trump were close allies when he was in the White House, but their relationship soured after McConnell publicly congratulated President Biden on winning the 2020 election in mid-December and characterized Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack during a floor speech earlier this year.
McConnell has touted the infrastructure bill during a series of stops in Kentucky this week, where he’s discussed the amount of money the state will get and the infrastructure projects that are expected to get funding.
“This bill was basically written in the Senate by a bipartisan group,” McConnell said during the Thursday radio interview. “I think it was good for the country, and I’m glad it passed.”
He has also tried to stress the difference between the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the still-being-negotiated social and climate spending bill that Democrats will try to pass without GOP votes in the House or Senate.
“It’s not something we ought to be doing. We’ve spent quite enough this year. It’s time to stop spending,” he said when asked if any Senate Republicans would support the Democratic spending bill.
The infrastructure bill — which was negotiated by a bipartisan Senate group led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — created fierce division within the Senate Republican Conference over the summer, with conservatives accusing their GOP colleagues of helping pave the way for the separate social spending bill being pursued by Democrats.
“Look, it was crazy in the Senate for about two months. We had massive arguments over this bill. I mean, screaming arguments at lunch,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said during a Fox News interview this week about the GOP discussions on the bill.