Leader McConnell on Hugh Hewitt

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Hugh Hewitt this morning to discuss Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation and Senate Republican priorities. See below for highlights or click here to listen to the whole interview.

On Precedent for Confirming Justice Barrett:

“Let’s go back to 2016, which the Democrats conveniently leave out, and what I said, which was that when you have divided government, you have to go back to 1888 to find the last time a Senate of a different party of the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court created in a presidential election year.

“They also ignored that Joe Biden, currently the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1992, a time of divided government. And so he gratuitously announced that should there be a vacancy, they would not fill it. That was George H.W. Bush running for reelection.

“And then 18 months before the end of Bush 43’s eight years, Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid announced that if a vacancy occurred, they wouldn’t fill it.

“So look, if the shoe had been on the other foot, I’m pretty confident that they would have acted in the same way. What we did was entirely consistent with history and tradition. I’m proud of what we did.”


On Reshaping the Federal Judiciary:

“Three Supreme Court justices, 53 Circuit judges. Until last Monday, there wasn’t a single vacancy on any Circuit Court in America. And that hadn’t happened since 1980. So I think it’s the single most significant, long-term contribution we’ve made to the country to put young men and women on the bench who believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law.”


On Democrats’ Threats Against Our Institutions:

“They’ve been talking about that all year. It didn’t just pop up when we ended up confirming Judge Barret. This Supreme Court packing issue has been around all year long. And of course, there would be no oversight at all, as you suggest, of any scandals or anything that might reflect badly on the Democratic administration if there is a Democratic majority. Now the solution to this is 51 Republican senators. The one thing the majority leader can do that others cannot do in the Senate is to decide what we’re going to do, to set the agenda.

“If Chuck Schumer is setting the agenda in the United States Senate, you can predict the worst. We will go hard left. The country will not look the same after two years of that as it does today.”


On the Republican Senate Agenda:

“If I’m the Majority Leader instead of the Minority Leader you know judges will come first. We’ll continue to put strict constructionists on the bench for at least another two years.

“And I think we need to make a careful, calculated decision about what more to do to deal with this coronavirus. We are throwing money at the search for a vaccine, which is a wise thing to do. We probably need to do another package, certainly more modest than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi package. I think that will be something we’ll need to do right at the beginning of the year, targeted particularly at small businesses that are struggling and hospitals that are now dealing with a second wave of the coronavirus. And of course, the challenges for education, both K-12 and colleges.”