McConnell Unloads On Biden: Trump ‘Excellent’ On Border, Biden Failing; Stimulus ‘Wildly Out Of Proportion’



Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized President Joe Biden during a Wednesday interview on Fox News for a variety of issues ranging from securing the southern border to reopening schools.

McConnell called Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus bill “wildly out of proportion to where the country stands today.”

“This $1.9 trillion bill is the same size as the bill we passed last April, right in the middle of the pandemic,” McConnell said. “This is not the same country we had a year ago. Only 9 percent of this $1.9 trillion is related to health care, and less than 1 percent of this $1.9 trillion bill is related to vaccines. … The vaccines are going out. The economies are opening up. As you just pointed out, a lot of money that was sitting on the sidelines, for obvious reasons, over the last year is about to begin to be spent.”

McConnell later added that schools needed to be reopened, saying, “There’s no science-based reason for kids to be stuck at home now.”

“And I think the administration ought to be advocating, even though those are local decisions, ought to be advocating getting these kids back in school, because the science backs that up,” he added. When asked why he thought Biden was not doing that, McConnell said it was because “this is the parents versus the teachers union.”

“And I think the administration would be a lot smarter, rather than trying to sort of pay back their teachers union allies, to side with the parents of America, who know their kids need to be back in school,” McConnell said. “We know that there’s been a lot of damage done to the kids over the last year by being stuck at home. They need to be with other children their age. They need to be learning the social skills that come along with being back in school. And there’s no science-based reason for keeping these kids locked up at home any longer.”

Later, when asked about the crisis on the U.S. border, McConnell said, “Secretary Mayorkas, the head of the Homeland Security, says there’s no crisis at the border. Well, that’s absolutely incorrect.”

“And the crisis was created by the administration sending a message to desperate people who want to come here that just hang on, you will get in sooner or later,” McConnell said. “And, of course, the Mexican government then will become less cooperative. One thing the previous administration did an excellent job of, by any objective standard, was border security. And all of that is being undone very quickly in this new administration. They own this crisis at the border. They created it. And they could stop it if they chose to.”

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Joining me now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senator, great to have you with us today. Thank you very much.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Hi, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Hi there.

In terms of this bill, you said the other day that you would want to sort of fight this in every way possible; 50/50 split, some concessions just made on some of the thresholds. Do you think you’re going to be able to peel off any Democrat senators in this bill?

MCCONNELL: Well, we don’t know yet.

But it’s wildly out of proportion, as your introduction pointed out, wildly out of proportion to where the country stands today. This $1.9 trillion bill is the same size as the bill we passed last April, right in the middle of the pandemic.

This is not the same country we had a year ago. Only 9 percent of this $1.9 trillion is related to health care, and less than 1 percent of this $1.9 trillion bill is related to vaccines.

It is a wildly out-of-proportion response to where the country is at the moment. The vaccines are going out. The economies are opening up. As you just pointed out, a lot of money that was sitting on the sidelines, for obvious reasons, over the last year is about to be — to begin to be spent.

We think having a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II already doesn’t argue for adding $2 trillion more, when the country is clearly on the way back.

MACCALLUM: I mean, it’s a great point.

I heard Jim Baker talking about it the other night. He spoke with Bret and said — and exactly what you just said. Having a debt that is the size of the economy — think about that, everybody at home — is a pretty tremendous burden to bear.

That being said, just the pure vote politics of this, do you believe right now, as you talk — as you speak today, that there’s any chance that perhaps Joe Manchin or perhaps Kyrsten Sinema, senators from West Virginia and Arizona, might vote no on this bill?

MCCONNELL: Well, I doubt it in the end.

There is a chance, however, that they may join us in slimming it down some, probably nowhere near as much of a slim-down as the situation argues for. But any amount we can reduce the size of this is a good thing for the — for the country. And I think there’s at least a chance that one or two Democrats could join all of us and spend a little bit less.

MACCALLUM: Have you spoken with either of them?

MCCONNELL: It’s still going to be — it’s still going to be wildly out of proportion to what the country needs right now.

MACCALLUM: Sorry to interrupt.

Have you spoken with either of those senators or anybody that you think might be on the fence today?

MCCONNELL: Yes, there’s all kinds of conversations going on.

The Democrat bill keeps changing. They keep dropping things that are toxic. And I think the reason for that is, there’s internal pressure among Senate Democrats to make it a little less bad.

But, at the end of the day, my guess is, they all fall in line and it’ll pass with every single Democrat for it and every single Republican against.

MACCALLUM: Do you think that the checks that are going out — there’s some unemployment benefits, additional benefits that would run out in March. Do you believe that these checks prevent some people from wanting to work? Do you believe that?

MCCONNELL: Well, there is a concern about making it more advantageous to stay home, and — rather than going back to work.

Look, if we had it to do all over again — and we, meaning Republicans, may offer an alternative that we think fits the situation, and it’s considerably less than $1.9 trillion, $500 billion or 600 billion, which is still an enormous amount of money, but highly targeted at the health care portion of the problem, vaccines, kids in school.

And we need to make sure that people are being encouraged to go back to school, not staying at home.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

MCCONNELL: I mean, there’s no science-based reason for kids to be stuck at home now.

And I think the administration ought to be advocating — even though those are local decisions, ought to be advocating getting these kids back in school, because the science backs that up.

MACCALLUM: So, you have known Joe Biden a long time. Why do you think he doesn’t do that?

If he were to come out and say, look, this — I’m the president of the United States. As you say, these are state decisions. But I believe that everybody — what if he pushed back against the teachers union?

Politically, how big of a — how much of a burden would that be on him? Or do you think he might — he might score well with it, actually, with the American people?

MCCONNELL: Well, this is the parents versus the teachers union.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

MCCONNELL: And I think the administration would be a lot smarter, rather than trying to sort of pay back their teachers union allies, to side with the parents of America, who know their kids need to be back in school.

We know that there’s been a lot of damage done to the kids over the last year by being stuck at home. They need to be with other children their age. They need to be learning the social skills that come along with being back in school.

And there’s no science-based reason for keeping these kids locked up at home any longer. And I think, the sooner the administration faces that, stands up to the teachers union, and says, get those kids back in school, the more likely school boards all across America are going to make that decision.

MACCALLUM: Yes. It could be a great political moment for him as well.

On that same line, are you surprised that President Joe Biden is allowing what’s happening at the border right now to happen? We know that, in Brownsville, Texas, there’s 105 migrants who came through who are COVID-positive who were sort of sent on their way on the process.

That wouldn’t happen — if that happens here, where I work, you’re home for 10 days if you test positive or 14 days, or whatever the doctor prescribes. Why is it that we have a different policy for people coming across the border?

MCCONNELL: Beats me.

Secretary Mayorkas, the head of the Homeland Security, says there’s no crisis at the border. Well, that’s absolutely incorrect. And the crisis was created by the administration sending a message to desperate people who want to come here that just hang on, you will get in sooner or later.

And, of course, the Mexican government then will become less cooperative.

One thing the previous administration did an excellent job of, by any objective standard, was border security. And all of that is being undone very quickly in this new administration. They own this crisis at the border. They created it. And they could stop it if they chose to.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

With regard to the prior administration, you were on last Friday talking to Bret, and you said, absolutely, that you would back President Trump, the former president, if indeed he became the nominee of your party.

And everyone remembers the very strong statement that you made on the floor with regard to the January 6 riots at the Capitol. You were very strong in your words against the president.

At this point, do you have any regrets about the statement that you made on the floor? Would you take back any of that today?

MCCONNELL: Well, look, I think the actions of the new Democratic administration are unifying the Republican Party.

We have had some internal back-and-forth, and it’s been widely covered. But nothing has unified the Republican Party in both the House and the Senate faster than reacting to this new left-wing administration.

So, we’re looking forward. We’re not going to look backward. We’re looking forward, dealing with the problems America has today, not the problems it had yesterday.

And, as I said, I have sensed in our conference, and I think in the House Republican Conference as well, a new sense of unity, pulling together to oppose this left-wing administration.

MACCALLUM: All right.

Well, shortly after you said that, the president spoke at CPAC, and he went after — he named 17 individuals. He spared you in that — in that part of it. He mentioned you in another part.

What did you think of that when you heard him at CPAC naming all of those who voted to impeach him and saying, basically, we need to get rid of all these Republicans?

MCCONNELL: Well, I didn’t — I didn’t watch it.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONNELL: But I think the important thing now the American people expect from us is to stand up to this left-wing administration that’s taking the country in the wrong direction.

We’re dealing with the president and the future, not looking back to the past.

MACCALLUM: So, you don’t want to comment on any of that. And I understand what you’re saying, that you want to move forward.

He also went after the Supreme Court. And that has been a point that was of great pride for you in terms of accomplishment with those Supreme Court justices.

Here’s what he said about the Supreme Court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had almost 20 states go into the Supreme Court, so that we didn’t have a standing problem. They rejected it. They rejected it.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: They should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done to our country. They didn’t have the guts or the courage to make the right decision. Senator

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: McConnell, what do you say about that statement?

MCCONNELL: Well, I can only speak for myself.

The Supreme Court is the most respected institution in the country, with the possible exception of the military. When they speak, it’s the last word. And it’s been my practice over the years not to attack the Supreme Court for decisions that I don’t like.

MACCALLUM: So, you think the president was wrong to say that?

MCCONNELL: It’s been my practice over the years not to attack the Supreme Court when they make a decision that I don’t like.

MACCALLUM: All right, just one last question.

Senator Murkowski is the only one on that list who’s actually up for reelection in her next Senate race. And you said that you will stand by her.

Do you think you may find yourself in a position where you are backing her and the former president is backing another candidate against her? And will you stand by her if that happens?

MCCONNELL: Yes, absolutely. We support Senator Murkowski. We support all of our Republican incumbents.

She’s in very strong shape in her home state of Alaska. There’s nobody going to come close to beating Lisa Murkowski when she runs for reelection next year.

MACCALLUM: Senator McConnell, minority leader of the United States Senate, thank you very much, sir.

MCCONNELL: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Always good to have you with us.

MCCONNELL: Thanks, Martha.

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