WASHINGTON ― Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) complained Sunday that Democrats were needlessly slowing down confirmations of Donald Trump’s administration officials.
Several of Trump’s picks have come under fire for not paying taxes or simply not knowing enough about the department they would run. In the case of Betsy DeVos, the nominee for education secretary, ethical concerns have stalled her confirmation at least temporarily.
While being questioned by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, McConnell argued that Senate Democrats were treating Trump unfairly. “They don’t want this administration to be treated like other administrations,” he said.
But the exchange got awkward when Wallace suggested McConnell had raised similar concerns over then-President Barack Obama’s nominees at the beginning of his first term. “But senator, weren’t you guilty of some selective outrage back in 2009?” Wallace asked.
Wallace pointed out that McConnell and his peers had helped to derail former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s nomination to run the Department of Health and Human Services after it was discovered that he failed to pay back taxes for a car and driver.
Wallace showed a clip of McConnell from “Face the Nation” in 2009 in which the senator argued that Obama needed to do a better job picking his nominees: “It does raise some questions about the vetting process ... I think the administration ought to take a look at its vetting process.”
McConnell had a hard time explaining the difference between his stance in 2009 and the Democrats’ stance in 2017. “Look, you can complain about whatever you choose to,” he said. “Ultimately, though, the administration decides who to submit and members decide whether these kinds of mistakes that people make from time to time are decisive in determining how they’re going to vote.”
McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is expected to be easily confirmed to run the Department of Transportation.