Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Monday that former President Obama should have held back from criticizing President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling Obama's critique “a little bit classless.”
McConnell replied that Obama should have followed the lead of former President George W. Bush, who largely sidestepped weighing in on politics after he left the White House. McConnell also noted that the former GOP president and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, “kept their mouths shut” after leaving office because they didn't think it was “appropriate” to critique another president.
“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut. You know, we know he doesn't like much this administration is doing. That's understandable. But I think it's a little bit classless frankly to critique an administration that comes after you,” McConnell said.
“You had your shot. You were there for eight years. I think the tradition that the Bushes set up of not critiquing the president who comes after you is a good tradition,” McConnell added.
Neither Lara Trump nor McConnell specified which Obama comments they were referring to.
His comments come after Obama described the Trump administration's coronavirus response “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a private call on Friday with people who worked for him in the White House. The critique marked a rare break in custom for Obama who has occasionally criticized Trump — such as when he ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program and in the wake of the President's first travel ban executive order.President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has had a years-long fixation with Obama that predates his presidential campaign and has repeatedly disparaged his predecessor with unfounded conspiracy theories.
Earlier Monday, the President was asked about one of his Mother's Day tweets where he seemingly accused Obama of some kind of conspiracy against his administration.“Obamagate. It's been going on for a long time,” he claimed at the White House, without offering specifics or evidence. “It's been going on from before I even got elected, and it's a disgrace that it happened.”Speaking specifically about US response to the coronavirus outbreak, Obama said in his call with members of the Obama Alumni Association that the current administration's actions serve as a critical reminder for why strong government leadership is needed during a global crisis.The call was intended to encourage former Obama staffers to become more engaged in Biden's presidential campaign.“It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said.
“It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else' — when that mindset is operationalized in our government.”
By the way, you’re doing a heck’uva job, Mitch:
The largest share of unemployment claims filed in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic is in the state of Kentucky, where more than 671,000 workers, nearly a third of the state's labor force, have sought jobless benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Labor released its weekly claims report on May 7, indicating that nearly 33 percent of Kentucky's workforce has filed for unemployment benefits in April.
“Today's report reflects the massive impact that measures to contain the coronavirus has had on the American workforce. This employment situation is exceptionally fluid,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement after the report on April's numbers was released. “We know that today's data reflect neither the additional layoffs that occurred in late April and early May nor the employees beginning to return to work in some States. We also know that, by re-opening safely, we have the capacity to avoid permanent job losses for the overwhelming percentage of Americans who, the report shows, currently view their job loss as temporary.”
The new numbers were released the day after Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the first phase of his plan to reopen the state's economy.According to the report, 3,169,000, unemployment claims were filed nationwide during the last week of April, which is a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week's revised numbers.
McConnell isn’t the one looking out for Kentucky, that would be Pelosi:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is poised to unveil the next coronavirus aid package, encouraging Congress to “go big” on aid to help cash-strapped states and struggling Americans. Voting is possible as soon as Friday.
But the bill is heading straight into a Senate roadblock. Senate Republicans said Monday they are not planning to vote on any new relief until June. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is no “urgency” to act.
“Let's get on with it,” Pelosi said Monday night on MSNBC.
“To those who would suggest a pause, I would say the hunger doesn't take a pause, the rent doesn't take a pause,” she said. “We have a big need. It's monumental.”
The new package, the fifth since March, is expected to carry another eye-popping price tag. President Donald Trump has signed into law nearly $3 trillion in aid approved by Congress.
Its centerpiece is likely to be money to states and cities that are struggling to avoid layoffs in the face of skyrocketing health care costs and plummeting tax receipts during the economic shutdown. There will money for virus testing and another round of direct cash payments and unemployment benefits for Americans, Pelosi said. She has not disclosed the cost.
On a conference call with House colleagues Monday, Pelosi urged them to “go big,” according to person unauthorized to discuss the private caucus call and granted anonymity.
With the Capitol still partly closed, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told lawmakers on the call there would be 72-hour notice before returning to Washington for the vote, which could come Friday, the person said.
But Senate Republicans are in no rush to spend what could be trillions more on aid.
“I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol.
Days after the Justice Department controversially dropped charges against Mike Flynn, Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is set to expand a highly politicized Justice Department’s surveillance authority during a vote this week to renew the 2001 PATRIOT Act.
Under cover of redressing what President Donald Trump and his allies call the FBI’s “witch hunt” over collusion with the Kremlin, McConnell, via an amendment to the PATRIOT Act, will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories. In a different amendment, McConnell also proposes giving the attorney general visibility into the “accuracy and completeness” of FBI surveillance submissions to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. Versions of the amendments circulating Monday were shared with The Daily Beast.
Taken together, privacy advocates consider McConnell’s moves an alarming expansion of Attorney General Bill Barr’s powers under FISA, a four-decade-old process that already places the attorney general at the center of national-security surveillance. It also doesn’t escape their notice that McConnell is increasing Barr’s oversight of surveillance on political candidates while expanding surveillance authorities on every other American. One privacy activist called McConnell’s efforts “two of the most cynical attempts to undermine surveillance reform I've ever seen.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that Barr, who has been deeply involved in investigations of interest to Trump, could authorize an investigation into a political rival, which could then unlock the internet-spying powers McConnell wants to grant the FBI.
“Under the McConnell amendment, Barr gets to look through the web browsing history of any American—including journalists, politicians, and political rivals—without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation,” said Wyden, who has been trying to ban warrantless surveillance on such records.
A vote to restore expired provisions of the Patriot Act, the vehicle for McConnell’s amendments, could come as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday.
McConnell’s top opponent, Amy McGrath (D. KY), didn’t mince words in her interview with the Frankfurt State-Journal:
Q: City and county government leaders have called on Sen. McConnell to support federal aid for local governments. What is your stance on helping state and local governments during a crisis like the COVID-19 crisis?A: By saying you’re not going to help the state and local governments right now is basically slapping the face of policemen, firefighters, nurses, educators and people on the front line. To me this just shows you how disconnected he is with Kentucky. The state and local governments need help. They wouldn’t be in the crisis they’re in now without the coronavirus … . I'm going to take care of a little person first. I'm gonna take care of the worker and the people on the front lines first and the big corporations second.Q: What are the three issues that are most important to you?
A: Even beyond the issues, I think my theme is we’ve got to have leaders who put this country before their political party. And it's the opposite of Mitch McConnell. It's the opposite of a guy who only wants to win for himself and his political party, and for the interest of special interests, and his donors and you know the greediness, the shortsightedness, the corporatism — everything that he stands for. So it's yes I'm running on issues, of course…Good lord, don’t we need better leaders in this country? And we need people who are going to represent people again and not the special interests and not try to make our country dysfunctional, which is what Mitch McConnell has done for so long … .I think the top issues remain health care, which is the number one issue. This isn’t Amy’s issue. This is the issue of people in Kentucky. That's what I'm running on. They want a leader who is not going to take health care away from people, but fix the system that we have.Number two it’s good-quality jobs in Kentucky. And it’s not good enough to have people have to work three jobs to make ends meet. We need 21st century infrastructure to get the good quality jobs of the future.We need to invest in education and workforce development here, so that businesses want to come to Kentucky so that they will have a healthy and educated workforce.