Mitch McConnell: We could have made this COVID deal months ago if not for Democrats playing politics

As Jazz pointed out this morning, we now have agreement on a trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill. Over the weekend Nancy Pelosi did her best to blame the delay on Republicans. “What took so long is because we could not get our Republican colleagues to crush the virus,” Pelosi said.

CNN’s Manu Raju was one of just five reporters in the room with Pelosi when she laid the blame on Republicans. He asked Pelosi why she hadn’t accepted the much larger $1.8 trillion deal Sec. Mnuchin made on behalf of the White House back in early October. That offer was only $400 billion less than the $2.2 trillion plan Democrats were promoting at the time. But when asked about that yesterday, Pelosi refused to answer the question.

The point is that McConnell wanted a smaller relief bill and Pelosi presumably wanted a larger one. By not jumping at the $1.8 trillion offer, Pelosi wound up with a bill that was closer to what McConnell wanted all along. Today, Sen. McConnell went on Fox News and said this was all about politics:

“I said back in July what the country needed was a package roughly of a trillion dollars focused on kids in school, small businesses, health care providers, and direct cash payments … We started advocating that in July and August. The talks were unproductive, so I essentially put that bill on the floor of the Senate in both September and October. Not a single Democrat supported it. Their view was, give us everything we want or we won’t give you anything.

“It’s noteworthy.” McConnell added, “that at the end they finally gave us what we could have agreed to back in July. I think what held it up was they did not want to do anything before the presidential election. I think they felt that would disadvantage the president.”

Sen. Schumer took to the floor this afternoon and called McConnell’s accusation “Alice in Wonderland thinking.” He then compared an contrasted the current bill with the bill that McConnell had previously offered, not with the one the White House had offered. Maybe it’s just me but Sen. Schumer’s speech attacking the GOP didn’t seem to have the usual flair. In the midst of talking about the isolation of lockdowns and being trapped at home with our “tiny screens”  he was interrupted by a call on his cell phone:

I wonder if it was Nancy calling, telling him what to say next. In any case, here’s the full interview with Sen. McConnell.