Mitch McConnell believes Democrats in Congress need to “grow up” and confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. The leader of Republicans in the Senate has criticized Democrats who want to delay confirmation hearings until full ethics checks can be complete, according to International Business Times UK.
McConnell was speaking on CBS’ Face The Nation about the upcoming hearings of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Several of Trump’s picks have not completed full checks from the Office of Government Ethics. The head of the OGE has claimed the Trump transition team has not been in touch.
“The Democrats are really frustrated that they lost the election,” McConnell said.
“What did we do? We confirmed seven Cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in. We didn’t like most of them, either. But he won the election.”
“So all these little procedural complains are related to their frustration at having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate. I understand that. But we need to, sort of, grow up here and get past that.”
“The real thing is the vote on the floor, and we want to have all of the records in, all of the papers completed before they are actually confirmed on the Senate floor,” McConnell said.
Several Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, have said they will scrutinize Trump’s cabinet picks for potential conflicts of interest. Warren wants the Office of Government Ethics to fully vet nominees before hearings.
The Director of the Office of Government Walter Shaub warned in a letter that his office has not been able to fully examine Trump’s choices for key cabinet positions and the Trump presidential transition team has not been as co-operative as it should be, according to ABC News.
“The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me,” Shaub wrote.
“This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews.”
“I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process,” Shaub added.
Senator McConnell is now asking that Democrats overlook the warnings from the OGE and agree to start hearings on Trump’s cabinet nominees. The Office of Government Ethics will not complete its work on potential cabinet members before the confirmation process begins.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer is concerned about rushing through the cabinet confirmation hearings and he disagreed with McConnell’s call for Democrats to “grow up.” Schumer may try to prevent cabinet hearings until the OGE can do its work.
“This is not an issue that pits Republicans against Democrats – it pits Republicans against all Americans and an independent ethics agency that is tasked with ensuring the president’s Cabinet follows the law,” Senator Schumer said.
“Until these nominees have fully cooperated with the ethics review process, the hearings and confirmation schedule should not be rushed.”
Mitch McConnell’s decision to attack Democrats before the confirmation hearings even begin may set the tone for the discussions surrounding Trump’s cabinet picks. McConnell has also said the Democrats should not prevent Donald Trump appointing a new judge to the Supreme Court, despite Republicans preventing any hearings on Merrick Garland, President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee.
McConnell will attempt to get Trump’s cabinet choices approved quickly. If any of the nominees faces an unusually long confirmation process or one of Trump’s nominees is rejected, it would be embarrassing for Trump and the Republicans who support him.
[Featured Image by Cliff Owen/AP Images]