Trump Praises McConnell's Role In Battle Over Kavanaugh

Oct 13, 2018

President Donald Trump heaped praise Saturday on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, crediting the veteran Kentucky lawmaker's political toughness and acumen during the ugly battle that concluded with Brett Kavanaugh becoming a Supreme Court justice. "He's Kentucky tough," Trump declared.

President Trump looks on as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a campaign rally at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond
Credit Karyn Czar

Kavanaugh took his seat on the high court this week after overcoming allegations of sexual misconduct dating to his high school and college years. He forcefully denied the charges, and Trump and McConnell firmly backed Kavanaugh as part of their combined quest to populate the judiciary with conservative judges. Kavanaugh could tilt the political balance of the high court in the conservative direction for generations to come.

"We stuck with him all the way because we knew the facts," Trump said, speaking of himself and McConnell, Kentucky's senior U.S. senator.

"There's nobody tougher. There's nobody smarter. He refused to cave to the radical Democrats' shameful campaign of personal and political destruction," Trump said at a political rally at Eastern Kentucky University before he called McConnell to the mic.

"He stared down the angry left-wing mob. He never blinked and he never looked back and he got us a man who will be one of our great, great Supreme Court justices," Trump said.

McConnell returned the compliment and told the president to continue nominating judges and "we'll keep confirming them."

Democrats fiercely and vocally opposed Kavanaugh, opposition that hardened after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Other women accused him of other sexually inappropriate behavior.

Protesters swarmed Senate office buildings and hundreds were arrested in a futile attempt to intimidate a handful of holdout senators into voting against confirming Kavanaugh. Trump has taken to referring to Democrats who opposed Kavanaugh as an angry "mob."

The president flew to Kentucky to campaign for three-term Republican Rep. Andy Barr, who is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, in one of the country's most-watched House races.

Democrats have focused on the seat in their drive to regain control of the House.

Trump told the rally that a vote for Barr "could make the difference between unbelievable continued success" or failure, and pleaded with his supporters to vote on Nov. 6 to send more Republicans to Congress.

He tweeted before arriving in Richmond that Barr is a "fantastic guy" whose vote is needed to make America great again. Trump said Barr is strong on crime, tax cuts, the military, veterans and the Second Amendment. "Andy has my Strongest Endorsement!!!"

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the highest-profile Democrat to campaign for McGrath when he visited the state Friday night. Biden told a crowd in Owingsville that "basic American values are under assault."

"This is not hyperbole. This election is bigger than politics," Biden said.

With just over three weeks before Election Day, Saturday's rally was part of an aggressive fall campaign push by Trump to energize Republicans and encourage them to help keep his legislative agenda moving forward by voting to keep the GOP in control of both houses of Congress.