One week before the Christmas break, McConnell led the Senate in passing a short-term spending bill he believed Trump would sign. But the president’s latest rebuke of fellow Republicans has caused McConnell to retreat into the shadows since a quarter of the government shut down on December 22. Although McConnell issued a public statement supporting Trump’s push for a border wall, he has been noticeably absent from the president’s side despite his reputation as a Washington “dealmaker.”
“McConnell is one of the best vote-counters in politics, and he generally knows when to fold a losing hand,” former Biden chief of staff during several McConnell deals, Bruce Reed, told the Washington Post Saturday. “He did that on a number of occasions in the Obama years. He’s now stuck with a president who prefers to double down on a losing hand.”
However, the 76-year-old Kentucky senator, who is up for reelection to a seventh term in 2020, was recently touted by the president on Twitter. Although McConnell and Trump fought over attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, McConnell gained favor with the president over his brutal maneuvering to put conservatives on the Supreme Court.