Mitch McConnell published an op-ed demanding that the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives act in a bipartisan manner.
Just hours later, the Senate Majority Leader blocked a bipartisan bill that would have protected Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Donald Trump.
The move has earned scorn for the Kentucky Senator, who has been blasted for his casting aside historic political norms to gain a political advantage for Republicans. The column, published Wednesday on FoxNews.com, was a pointed — and many believe accusatory — call on Democrats to work with Republicans.
“Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?” the headline read.
The op-ed drew an immediate backlash, as many pointed out that Mitch McConnell was the architect of the Republicans’ strategy to stymie Barack Obama’s presidency by refusing to work across the aisle and try to starve him of accomplishments.
As Politifact noted, McConnell made little efforts to hide his goal of defeating Barack Obama and shunning bipartisanship in an effort to do so.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” McConnell famously said in 2010.
The strategy continued through both terms of Barack Obama’s presidency, concluding with McConnell’s decision to block Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court vacancy left after the death of Antonin Scalia. Many critics saw McConnell as the epitome of partisanship in Washington, including Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik who said McConnell’s column was “quite possibly the nerviest, most hypocritical op-ed in history.”
Mitch McConnell got even more criticism just hours after the op-ed was published when he blocked a bipartisan bill that would have protected Robert Mueller from being fired by Donald Trump. There had been concern that Trump could move to end the Russia investigation after forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, with Democrats and Republicans both looking to stop any potential firing from Trump.
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who has often bucked party leadership, supported the bill and sought unanimous consent to bring the bill forward for debate, but Mitch McConnell refused and blocked the bill, BuzzFeed News reported. Flake responded by declaring the would vote to reject all of Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. Because Flake holds a position on the Senate Judiciary Committee, his vote alone could allow Democrats to prevent nominees from moving forward.