Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were scheduled to meet with Donald Trump at the White House this morning, but after the president published a ridiculous tweet lying about them, they decided there wasn’t any point in having an Oval Office chat.
One of their Republican counterparts saw an opportunity for criticism.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not appear happy with Democratic leaders’ decision to not attend a meeting with President Donald Trump after the President criticized the Democratic lawmakers ahead of the gathering.
“I never refused to go to a meeting that President Obama called, a bipartisan meeting,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “It never occurred to me that I could just say to President Obama ‘I’m not showing up.’ That strikes me as a lack of seriousness about the matter before us, which is the funding of the federal government of the United States for the rest of this fiscal year.”
OK, a few things. First, I’ve been watching Republican governance for quite a while, and McConnell should probably avoid conversations about demonstrations of “seriousness.” He is, after all, trying to ram through tax breaks for the wealthy, financed by tax increases on everyone else, without so much as a substantive hearing.
Second, if President Obama ever published tweets about GOP leaders like the kind of missives we routinely see from his successor, it’s safe to say congressional Republicans wouldn’t accept invitations for chats, either.
And third, when McConnell says he “never refused to go to a meeting that President Obama called,” that’s not quite true [Update: see below].
McConnell instead spent several hours with the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.
If GOP leaders are going to admonish Pelosi and Schumer, they’ll have to think of a different line of attack.
Update: McConnell’s office said this afternoon that the senator “didn’t turn down the meeting” in 2010. Rather, the Obama White House “announced a half-day meeting before checking with the participants” to see if they were available. The discussion was rescheduled.