Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) waits to speak during a news conference on Capitol Hill, April 28, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty

McConnell seeks contributions for his Supreme Court brazenness

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/30/19, 9:43 PM ET

Republican disregard for democratic norms didn't start with Trump

Rachel Maddow points out that Republicans were already engaged in hyper-partisan behavior against President Barack Obama, before that hyper-partisanship became couched in blind allegiance to Donald Trump’s destruction of democratic standards of conduct.
Rachel Maddow points out that Republicans were already engaged in hyper-partisan behavior against President Barack Obama, before that hyper-partisanship became couched in blind allegiance to Donald Trump’s destruction of democratic standards of conduct.
Three years ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) imposed an unprecedented high-court blockade, announcing that he and his Republican colleagues would block any Supreme Court nominee from a Democratic president. The GOP leader insisted at the time it was a matter of principle: the Senate could not consider filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year. Period. No exceptions.

This week, as Rachel noted on the show last night, McConnell rejected his principle, boasting that if there’s a high-court vacancy in 2020, he and his Republican majority would fill it with a nominee from Donald Trump.

Or put another way, everything the GOP leader said in 2016 was a lie.

And now he wants a reward for being unprincipled and brazenly dishonest.

McConnell followed up his remarks by issuing a fundraising appeal Wednesday, saying he was “proud” to have blocked Garland’s confirmation in 2016.

“If there’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court in 2020, I will proudly confirm President Trump’s nominee,” McConnell wrote. “Sure, the Left and their allies in the media will go crazy. The Democrats will raise MILLIONS to defeat me. That won’t stop us from putting another conservative Justice on the Supreme Court.”

The letter, sent out over McConnell’s signature, concluded, “Can you chip-in right now?”

The appeal offers a peek into an important facet of the Kentucky Republican’s approach to politics and governance: he’s a man without shame.

The man who effectively “broke” American politics recently made the theft of a Supreme Court seat the centerpiece of his re-election campaign kickoff. This week, McConnell smirked as he admitted that everything he said in 2016 was a sham.

A day later, he hoped to parlay the controversy into a lucrative payday for his re-election campaign. It apparently didn’t occur to the GOP leader that it might look ridiculous to ask to be rewarded for getting caught lying.

Occasionally, Democratic presidential candidates suggest they’ll simply sit down with McConnell in 2021, negotiate in good faith, and persuade him to work in a bipartisan fashion. I can only hope those same candidates are taking a good look at McConnell’s antics this week.