Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell 

There was no helping it... time to finally profile Voldemort - excuse me - Mitch McConnell. 

Born Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr., dear Voldy is the current Senate Majority Leader. McConnell was born in Sheffield, Alabama, in 1942. He attended the University of Louisville where he received his BA in political science. He then attended the University of Kentucky College of Law to get his J.D. During his final year of law school, he enlisted in the Army Reserve in Louisville but was honorably discharged after 5 weeks for an eye infection. 

In 1964, McConnell began working for Kentucky Senator John Sherman Cooper. He continued to work in government, eventually becoming a Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Ford. He was elected the Judge of Jefferson County in 1997. 

McConnell first ran for a Senate seat in 1984, against a two-term Democratic incumbent. McConnell won by .4%. He has held a Senate seat ever since, though has come close to losing reelection several times. 

In 2006 after Republicans lost control in the Senate, McConnell was elected as Minority Leader. Once Republicans regained control in 2014, he became the Majority Leader. 

McConnell is married to Elaine Chao, the former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. 

In the Know 

McConnell is famous for saying he wanted to ensure Obama would be a one-term president. He saw Obama as unwilling to compromise on economic restructuring to lower the national debt, which we are now seeing he plans on doing but cutting healthcare for millions of Americans and creating a tax break for the extremely wealthy. 

McConnell initially supported Rand Paul for President but quickly voiced his support for Trump once it was clear he would win the nomination. 

McConnell is also hugely responsible for denying President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. In an August 2016 speech, McConnell said, "One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.'" 

2017 Headlines

Buckle up because there a lot of terrible reasons you've heard about McConnell this year. Let's start with his silencing of Elizabeth Warren at Jeff Session's confirmation hearing. He famously said, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

McConnell also advocated for changing the rule requiring majority votes for a Supreme Court confirmation. The Senate voted under his lead to change the rule to a simple majority, requiring only 52 votes to pass. Long considered the "nuclear option," this was one of the first major blows the Trump administration delivered to the American democratic process. 

McConnell has long been a climate change skeptic and was one of the strongest voices urging Trump to leave the Paris Climate Agreement. 

McConnell is also largely seen as the architect of the Senate Health Bill - you remember how it was kept in the dark for weeks after passing in the House despite bipartisan calls for transparency. He also wanted to push the bill through for a vote before the 4th of July holiday. After several GOP members came out against the bill in it's current form and overwhelming blow-back from Democratic constituents, the vote was delayed. 

One of the few positive facts I have to offer is that McConnell did caution against an overly-strict travel ban. He said, "I don't want to criticize them for improving vetting. I think we need to be careful. We don't have religious tests in this country."

Fun Fact

Well, okay, not "fun" per se - McConnell suffered from polio as a child and was treated at a local facility. Wonder if that would be considered a pre-existing condition today...

Also, after their divorce, McConnell's first wife became a feminist scholar Smith College. Necessary antibiotics prescribed after having been married to Mitch McConnell.  

Greer Clem