Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden haven’t spoken in nearly two months as GOP leader says he hasn’t been invited to the White House – which Jen Psaki blamed on COVID
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he hasn’t spoken with President Joe Biden ‘since he was sworn in’
- McConnell’s spokesperson later clarified that the last call they had was on February 1 about Burma
- He also told Fox News Channel that he hasn’t been invited to the White House since Biden took office
- Press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and McConnell have a ‘long friendship’ and speak ‘regularly’ and wouldn’t confirm the nearly two-month freeze
- She also said McConnell hasn’t been to the White House because ‘we obviously have been limited on COVID’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Channel Wednesday that he hasn’t spoken with President Joe Biden ‘since he was sworn in’ – nor has he received an invitation to the White House.
McConnell was trying to make the point that Biden’s bipartisanship talk was just that, telling Fox’s Bill Hemmer ‘there’s been no efforts whatsoever by the president or the administration to do anything in the political center.’
A spokesperson for McConnell later clarified to DailyMail.com that the Kentucky Republican had spoken with Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken about Burma on February 1.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said during an interview with Fox News Channel Wednesday that he hasn’t been invited to the White House since President Joe Biden took office
President Joe Biden (right) is seen talking to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) on inauguration day. McConnell told Fox on Wednesday that the two men haven’t spoken since then, though his office later said the last time they spoke was February 1 on Burma
Press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have a ‘long friendship’ and speak ‘regularly.’ When pressed if they’ve spoken since February 1, as McConnell’s office claims, she said, ‘I don’t have any more calls to read out’
McConnell had said as much in a February 2 speech.
McConnell’s aides additionally told CNN that there have been no conversations between Biden and McConnell about the president’s agenda.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t confirm the nearly two-month freeze.
‘He has a long friendship with Leader McConnell, he speaks with him regularly,’ she said Wednesday of Biden. ‘We’re obviously not going to read out all of those calls. I expect that will continue.’
When pressed about whether the two leaders have talked since the February 1 call, Psaki answered, ‘I don’t have any more calls to read out for you.’
Psaki also said McConnell hasn’t stepped foot on White House grounds because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
‘We obviously have been limited on COVID to any events in the East Wing and at this point we’d be very much in the Easter Egg Roll preparations, which of course we will not be – but obviously more important, substantive, vital meetings than that,’ she said.
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are typically invited to large-scale events like the annual Easter Egg Roll.
‘He’s had a number of meetings, bipartisan meetings, in the Oval Office, he will continue to do those,’ she continued. ‘Those have often been constructed with committee chairs or members with specific jurisdiction.’
McConnell has accused Biden of making a hard-left turn since taking office.
‘They misread the election. It’s a 50/50 Senate and a very narrow Democratic majority in the House,’ McConnell said. ‘Not a mandate to turn America into Bernie Sanders’ view of what America ought to be.’
Biden’s first legislative victory was the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that Democrats passed in the Senate using the process of reconciliation that allowed them to bypass the filibuster and pass the bill using a simple majority – which they have.
The president met with 10 moderate Republicans at the White House on February 1, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, but their low-ball offer wasn’t viewed by the administration as reasonable.
Democrats passed the American Rescue Act on a party-line vote.
The White House has sold it as ‘bipartisan’ by pointing to Republican voters approving of the plan in public polling.
Psaki doubled down on that definition during Wednesday’s briefing.
‘Well, he doesn’t believe that bipartisanship is defined by the zipcode here,’ she said. ‘His definition of bipartisan has always been working on behalf of the American people, and governing for all people … and moving forward on proposals and policies that will make their lives better’
For bills that need to bypass a filibuster, McConnell said he believed the White House would engage with individual GOP senators instead of the full caucus.
‘They’d be more than happy to pick off a few of our members and do what they would like to do, but there’s been no efforts whatsoever by the president or the administration to do anything in the political center,’ McConnell said.