Monday, June 13, 2016

U.S. SENATE - 'Mr. Leader' Interview

"Mitch McConnell talks ‘outrageous’ Trump comments and overcoming polio" PBS NewsHour 6/7/2016


SUMMARY:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the national face of the GOP.  With five terms under his belt, McConnell is also the longest-serving senator in Kentucky history; his extended and colorful career takes center stage in his recently published memoir, “The Long Game.”  McConnell joins Judy Woodruff to reflect on the state of American politics today and the 2016 presidential race.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now a different take on the 2016 presidential election.

It comes from the Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  He has just published his memoir, “The Long Game,” after five terms in the U.S. Senate.  He is the longest-serving senator in Kentucky history.

I sat down with the senator this morning at the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee here in Washington.

Senator Mitch McConnell, thank you very much for talking with us.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), Majority Leader:  Glad to be with you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  We’re here to talk about your memoir, “The Long Game.”

There’s a lot going on right now at this moment politically.  And I want to get to that.

You write about the people who influenced you, of course, your mother, your father.  You write about a senator from Kentucky, John Sherman Cooper, Mike Mansfield.

When you think about these people and their influence in your life, how does Donald Trump compare?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:  Well, he’s certainly a different kind of person in politics, totally different.

The Republican voters wanted somebody from outside, and they picked somebody from outside.  We will see in the end whether that works out.  They don’t seem to be happy with either candidate.  They don’t care for Hillary Clinton and they don’t care for Donald Trump, but the American people, at least in the Republican primaries and caucuses, clearly wanted somebody totally different.  And that’s who they nominated.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, and you mentioned Hillary Clinton.  Today, we learned that she apparently has done something historic, become the first woman to clinch enough delegates to become the nominee of a major political party in this country.

You know her.  What do you think of her?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:  Well, Hillary Clinton is a very, very experienced insider.

So, you’re going to have a race between the ultimate outsider and a long-term insider.  And the American people, I think, are going to have to make a big decision about whether they’re satisfied where the country is now.  If they are, then I think Hillary Clinton would get another four years, and it would be very similar to the last eight.

If, on the other hand the country, wants to dramatically go in a different direction, they’re certainly going to have the opportunity by voting for Donald Trump.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  You do write also, Senator, throughout the book about your commitment to racial diversity, among other things, about your marriage to Elaine Chao, who happens to be of Chinese heritage.

You have been asked in the last few days about what Donald Trump said about the judge, federal judge of Mexican heritage, and his denouncing him.  You have said you don’t in any way accept what Donald Trump has said, but when you were asked if it was racist, you didn’t answer.

Now that you have had some time to think…

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:  Well, what he said was — it was outrageous and inappropriate.  And I couldn’t more strongly condemn that.

The implication here is that those who came to America legally over the years are somehow second-class citizens.  My wife came here at age 8 not speaking a word of English and ended up in the president’s Cabinet.

We all got here from somewhere else going back in our lineage.  And I think these gratuitous attacks on Americans who got here recently or whose parents got here recently need to stop.

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