McConnell Reads Tea Leaves On Trump, NATO, Term Limits

Nov 10, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has no interest in at least one agenda item preferred by President-elect Donald Trump: term limits for members of Congress.

Trump praised the idea during the campaign, but McConnell said Wednesday the issue is going nowhere in the Senate.

The Kentucky Republican tells reporters: "I would say we have term limits now. They're called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate."

McConnell also says he hopes Vice President-elect Mike Pence follows former Vice President Dick Cheney in attending the Senate GOP's weekly luncheons.

McConnell says Cheney, a former congressman, served almost as Senate liaison for President George W. Bush. He says he hopes Pence, a former Indiana congressman, will do the same for Trump.

NATO Jitters

McConnell reasserted the importance of NATO – an issue which could divide the Republican heavyweight and President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump expressed skepticism about the post-war alliance in speeches, but McConnell isn’t budging either.

"I will say for myself I think the NATO alliance is every bit as important today as it ever was," the leader said. "I think Article 5 means something. You attack any member of NATO you have us to deal with. I want the Russians to understand that fully."

Despite Trump’s criticisms, the NATO general secretary said this week that “The US commitment to NATO and the US commitment to the collective defense of Europe has been rock-solid for almost 70 years and I'm absolutely confident that, that will still be the case.”

 

Hispanic Outreach

The Senate's top Republican isn't interested in rehashing contentious comments President-elect Donald Trump made about Hispanics during the campaign.

McConnell wouldn't say whether he thought Trump's remarks have caused lasting damage to the Republican Party with an important demographic group. Trump has called some Mexicans rapists and criminals and had claimed that a judge might be biased against him because of the judge's Mexican heritage.

Several months ago, McConnell publicly worried that Trump could push Hispanics from the party as Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater had done with blacks in the 1964 election.

McConnell said: "We should look forward and not backward and rehash and re-litigate the various debates we had both internally and with the Democrats over the past year."