Donald Trump, in an interview with Vanity Fair published Monday, slammed Mitch McConnell for not doing away with the filibuster during his presidency, going so far as to call him “a stupid person.”
The comments may come as a surprise, as Republicans desperately aim to protect the filibuster from Democrat attempts to get rid of it.
The former President claimed he tried to convince McConnell that as Senate Majority Leader during his tenure, he should have abolished the filibuster.
“He’s a stupid person,” Trump said of McConnell. “I don’t think he’s smart enough.”
“I tried to convince Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster, to terminate it, so that we would get everything, and he was a knucklehead and he didn’t do it,” he continued.
During Trump’s first two years in office, Republicans held slim majorities in both Houses of Congress, a situation similar to what Democrats find themselves in now as they push to abolish the filibuster.
The filibuster is designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill. Ending debate requires the agreement of three-fifths (60) of Senators, or in today’s Congressional makeup – 10 Republicans would have to join the majority party.
On the one hand, Trump’s argument would seem hypocritical in today’s setting, knowing full-well the Democrats are trying to stake a power grab by eliminating the filibuster.
On the other hand, it’s emblematic of the fact that Trump is a more proactive political fighter when it comes to defeating the Democrat agenda.
Sure, Mitch McConnell triggered the so-called ‘nuclear option’ after Democrats filibustered the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Doing so abolished the 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court nominees, something the Democrats themselves instituted for other judicial nominees under the leadership of Harry Reid in 2013.
And McConnell warned Reid not to do it …
“You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” McConnell warned from the Senate floor at the time.
McConnell triggered the ‘nuclear option’ for three of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. But it was reactionary. Reid did what he did first because the Democrats are always willing to play dirty, always willing to pull the trigger.
If Mitch had done as Trump says he instructed while Republicans were in power, they wouldn’t be teetering on the brink as a vast majority of the resistance party, with the exception of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), push to abolish the filibuster today.
Democrats used the filibuster a record 327 times during Trump’s presidency.
Throughout the Vanity Fair interview, which is part of an upcoming book, former President Trump continued to hammer McConnell and the Republican Party.
He compared Mitch to Meade Esposito, a corrupt Democratic Party boss in Brooklyn from the 1960s through the 1980s, suggesting the former didn’t have the same level of intestinal fortitude.
“Mitch McConnell compared to Meade Esposito, it’s like a baby compared to a grownup football player with brains on top of everything else,” he blasted.
Wikipedia describes Esposito as being “respected and feared for his street-style management, intimidation tactics, and criminal connections.”
Trump also managed to call Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) a “RINO,” Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) a “lightweight,” and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey a “terrible Republican.”
In the interview, the former President also took aim at his nemesis, the late Senator John McCain.
“John McCain was a bad guy,” he said. “He was a bully and a nasty guy, bad guy. A lot of people disliked him. Last in his class in Annapolis. All that stuff, but he was a bad guy.”
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