Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could help end Trump's shutdown any minute. But every day, he is choosing not to.
Trump now owns the longest federal government shutdown in American history — but he couldn't have pulled it off without having Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a willing accomplice.
McConnell is single-handedly preventing the Senate from even voting on legislation that would end the shutdown, which Trump insisted on in a tantrum because Congress refused to waste $5 billion on his useless border wall. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives have passed bills to reopen the government, but McConnell won't allow a vote on any of them unless and until Trump promises to sign them.
Now, public pressure is mounting on McConnell to just cut it out and end Trump's shutdown already — because McConnell is the one person other than Trump who could actually make this happen, if only he bothered to try.
A Washington Post analysis notes that McConnell "could bring a 'clean' funding bill to the floor, free up his GOP caucus to support it and could quite possibly secure enough votes to override a presidential veto."
"How much longer can Mitch McConnell sit it out?" the L.A. Times asked, referring to McConnell's unwillingness to lift a finger to help end the shutdown. The Wall Street Journal also took note of McConnell staying on the sidelines.
Even McConnell's hometown newspaper has called on him to reopen the government, hoping he would do so even if that means overriding a Trump veto on spending bills.
McConnell's fellow senators are also starting to notice his cowardice.
"Sen. McConnell and his caucus are AWOL in the middle of this shutdown," Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said on Friday, when McConnell was heading home to Kentucky rather than staying in Washington to work on a solution to the shutdown.
"This is the Trump shutdown, but Sen. McConnell and his caucus are becoming bigger and bigger accomplices," Van Hollen said.
Van Hollen and other Democrats tried to bring up legislation to reopen the government. But rather than allowing Senators to vote on the bills, McConnell called the attempt "absolutely pointless."
This is the case even though, before Trump's wall tantrum, McConnell supported identical funding legislation that passed the entire Senate with no opposition.
While McConnell may think it's "pointless" to stop denying paychecks to 800,000 federal workers, the American public is becoming more and more fed up with his obstructionist ways.
A recent Quinnipiac poll shows 56 percent of the public blames Trump and the Republicans for the current shutdown, while only 36 percent place the blame on Democrats.
These are results are consistent with other polling: As Bloomberg reports, six recent polls show the public places the blame for the shutdown squarely with Trump and congressional Republicans.
Mitch McConnell has the power to end the shutdown. Unfortunately, he lacks the willpower to do so.
That's not leadership. That's cowardice.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.