Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday kicked off his 2020 reelection bid with a video highlighting his successful effort to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland — a move that helped reshape the court and over which Democrats are still fuming.
The video also includes footage of President Trump hailing McConnell as a “rock-ribbed Kentucky leader” and “one of the most powerful men in the world.” The two Republicans have struck a fragile alliance despite their at times adversarial relationship.
McConnell, 77, is running for a seventh term. He has previously described his 2016 move to block Garland — and the subsequent confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch after President Trump took office — as one of his proudest moments.
The three-minute video released by McConnell’s Senate campaign includes footage of Obama announcing his nomination of Garland in March 2016 and asking Senate Republicans to “give him a hearing and then an up-or-down vote.”
It then switches to audio of McConnell pledging to block consideration of Garland.
“Let’s let the American people decide: Who will Americans trust to nominate the next Supreme Court justice?” McConnell says. “It is the president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check. The next president may also nominate somebody very different.”
The ad includes footage of Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was confirmed last year.
It also touts Congress’s passage of an $867 billion farm bill that included a provision championed by McConnell legalizing hemp, a move that supporters say will help boost the economy in Kentucky and other farm states.
Democrats are targeting McConnell’s seat in 2020 but have yet to find a viable challenger.