On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) slammed Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) strategy for defunding Obamacare that led to the government shutdown, saying it was a “tactical” error and “not a smart play.”
McConnell made his comments to Politico. He emphasized that Cruz’s defunding strategy “had no chance of success,” even though Cruz stipulated that Republicans had to first get on board in order to pressure Democrats from red states to defund Obamacare. Senate Republicans and some House Republicans spent months slamming Cruz, as well as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the architect of the defunding strategy, and conservatives who supported them.
“We got off track with a tactical error earlier starting in July and August that diverted our attention away from what was achievable,” McConnell said of the push to defund Obamacare. “And so we’ll be back at it in January and February, which is why the best you can say is, ‘It’s a punt.'”
Democrats like Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised McConnell for cutting a deal with Reid to open the government until January 15 and for saying that Republicans “got off track with a tactical error” on defunding Obamacare.
Durbin said McConnell had “been a very positive force in these negotiations.”