Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell reflected on his fifteen years directing Republicans at an event with supporters in Kentucky, the conservative Washington Times newspaper Tuesday.
“In my time as majority leader, the single biggest decision I’ve ever made was actually a decision not to do something,” McConnell said. “And that was to fill a Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia during the 2016 election.”
President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy, but McConnell's refusal to go through the confirmation process kept the vacancy open until Donald Trump was sworn-in as president after beating Hillary Clinton.
Trump eventually nominated Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate in 2017.
McConnell also reflected on being the second-longest party leader in the Senate behind legendary Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT), who lead the Senate from 1961 until his retirement in 1977. Mansfield, who had previously served in Congress and all three branches of the U.S. military in World War I era, went on to serve more than a decade as ambassador to Japan under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
“If I have one more term [as leader] — that’s two years — I’ll break that record, which is something I hope to be able to do,” McConnell said. “But it’s not just about setting records, it’s not just about how long you’ve been around. It’s whether or not you really made a difference.”
Read the full report.