McConnell keeps his head down as shutdown drags on

McConnell insisted it’s not his place to mediate this conflict after Trump rejected his short-term spending bill in December, an agreement reached with Schumer only after McConnell was led to believe Trump supported the measure. Instead, McConnell said, the whole ball game now comes down to what Pelosi and Schumer can sign onto with the president.

“It’s not complicated. I was in this role when Obama was president,” McConnell said. “[Vice President Joe] Biden and I did deals because they needed some of my votes. So now, the role is reversed. Ultimately the solution to this is a deal between the president and Nancy and Chuck, because we need some of Chuck’s votes, and obviously, we need Nancy’s support.”

McConnell’s position is that Trump, as a Republican president, doesn’t need help getting GOP votes. Those senators will be there for the president. It’s the Democratic leaders who have to find a compromise with Trump and then deliver their colleagues’ votes for that accord, according to McConnell.

“I haven’t been sidelined,” McConnell added. “There’s just no particular role for me when you have this setup.”