In his home state of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader is rallying fellow Republicans for his party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“We need a new president, Donald Trump,” McConnell said, according to Associated Press. The Leader has neither cheered nor jeered the New York City developer in recent months.
“If America votes like Kentucky, we’ll be fine,” he said.
McConnell’s shyness about Trump was widely seen on Capitol Hill as an acknowledgement of splits inside his party’s caucus.
McConnell’s endorsement of Trump comes one day after he was trolled by USA Today. In an editorial: “McConnell, majority leader of the silence of the GOP,” the paper listed other Republicans who have backed away from Trump. But it saved its taunting for the Kentucky senator:
Then there’s the technique perfected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, one of the nation’s two most powerful Republicans. It’s best described as hiding under the bed.
“If you’re interested in the presidential election, you might as well get up and leave,” McConnell told a home-state Chamber of Commerce audience last month, “because I don’t have any observations to make on that.” On two other stops in Kentucky, McConnell, who is fighting to hold onto the slender GOP Senate majority and his own exalted position, simply ducked reporters’ questions about Trump.
After tepidly endorsing Trump in May and popping up occasionally since then to criticize some of Trump’s basest actions, the cynical majority leader has all but disappeared from the presidential debate in recent weeks and gotten away with it.
McConnell’s no-harm-no-foul play was in stark contrast with his opposite number, the leader of Congress’ lower chamber Speaker Paul Ryan.
In the time between Ryan’s endorsement and Columbus Day, the speaker was quick to lend credibility and cover to Democratic attacks on Trump, such as his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, Russian tampering in the presidential election, claims that the Trump campaign was using anti-Semitic messaging and that Trump called for gun owners to assassinate his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Then, after the lewd 2005 tape of Trump using foul language to describe women was released Oct. 7, Ryan canceled his Oct. 8 invitation for Trump to campaign with him for the first time in the campaign. Ryan later held a conference call with Republican congressmen telling them he would not defend nor campaign for his party’s nominee.