On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will support President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Justice, Merrick Garland.
This announcement comes five years after McConnell blocked the judge’s path to the Supreme Court during the Obama administration.
— Marianne LeVine (@marianne_levine) February 23, 2021
McConnell Supports Biden’s AG Pick
When McConnell was asked by Politico in an interview published on Tuesday whether he supports Garland for attorney general, the Senator Minority leader replied without hesitation, “I do.”
Garland’s 2016 nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court was blocked by McConnell after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Politico noted that “Senate Republicans have maintained that their decision to prevent Garland from receiving a hearing in 2016 was not personal.”
The outlet also reported, “President Obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person,’ McConnell said at the time, shortly after Obama formally nominated Garland. ‘The decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle, not a person.”
With McConnell’s endorsement of Garland for AG, it looks like he was telling the truth.
Regardless, that move by Senate Republicans is something McConnell has touted since.
McConnell said in 2018, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.”
Here is Mitch McConnell, before the 2018 Midterm elections, bragging about stealing Merrick Garland's seat: "One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy." pic.twitter.com/NN0CDldKKP
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) September 22, 2020
Conservative Backlash Against McConnell’s Support For Garland
Conservative talk host Laura Ingraham tweeted of McConnell’s decision, “Evidence that Mitch won’t run for reelection: Mitch McConnell backs Merrick Garland for attorney general.”
Keep in mind, McConnell is also currently 79 years old.
Evidence that Mitch won't run for reelection: Mitch McConnell backs Merrick Garland for attorney general https://t.co/LIgoxTpMns
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 24, 2021
Conservative influencer Jack Posobiec tweeted, “Mitch McConnell to vote for Merrick Garland, who stated Congress should censor the internet and that Antifa attacks in Portland were not terrorism.”
BREAKING: Mitch McConnell to vote for Merrick Garland, who stated Congress should censor the internet and that Antifa attacks in Portland were not terrorism
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) February 23, 2021
During his confirmation hearings, Senator Josh Hawley asked Garland about the attacks on federal property in Portland, which have been ongoing for nearly a year.
Garland’s response was meant to differentiate between the Capitol riot and the attacks on federal property in Portland:
“An attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from trying cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism. An attack simply on a government property at night or under other circumstances is a clear crime, and a serious one, and should be punished.”
Garland also came under fire for bizarrely claiming he “hadn’t thought about’ whether or not illegally crossing the border should remain a crime.
Senator Hawley asked if Garland believed illegal crossings should remain a crime.
In response, Garland stated:
“Well, I haven’t thought about that question. I just haven’t thought about that question. I think the president has made clear that we are a country with borders and with a concern about national security. I don’t know of a proposal to decriminalize but still make it unlawful to enter. I just don’t know the answer to that question. I hadn’t thought about it.”
As Fox News points out, there are active efforts to decriminalize illegal border crossings.
The criticism from the right for McConnell supporting Garland was aplenty.
Julie Kelly of American Greatness summed up her view thusly:
Merrick Garland compared January 6 to OK City bombing, called white supremacy “extremism” the country’s biggest threat, and pledged to make the Capitol breach investigation his top priority as AG
So of course Mitch McConnell will vote to confirm him: https://t.co/JtOCkCD1VZ
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) February 23, 2021
It’s not the first time McConnell has pushed for Garland to take a high-level position in the government, either.
“McConnell’s decision to support Garland for attorney general is not entirely surprising, particularly given that the Kentucky Republican recommended him to lead the FBI during the Trump administration,” Politico reported.
“But his Tuesday announcement could clear the way for even more GOP senators to vote for Garland,” the outlet noted.