On Wednesday, just over a month after Mitch McConnell suffered a disturbing freezing-up episode, it happened again. Eerily, this time it happened as he was being asked if he would run for office again. The incident prompted some to call on the Senate Majority Leader, now 81, to resign. But when asked about it, despite frequently being at loggerheads, President Joe Biden took the high road.
President Biden reacts to Mitch McConnell’s second freeze of the summer:
“Mitch is a friend, as you know. Not a joke. I know people don’t believe that’s the case … I’m going to try and get in touch with him later this afternoon. I don’t know enough.” pic.twitter.com/Lpr7i1jgqB
— The Recount (@therecount) August 30, 2023
While wrapping up a press conference, Biden addressed the elephant in the room. “By the way, I just heard literally coming out and Mitch is a friend, as you know — not a joke,” he told reporters. “Well, you know, people don’t believe that’s the case, but we have disagreements politically, but he’s a good friend.”
Biden said he was going to check in with him, but admitted he was a bit fuzzy on the details, adding, “I don’t know enough to know.”
Both Biden and McConnell are from another age, when lawmakers from different parties — even those in key places in power — found ways to get along. Biden has many reasons to potentially dislike McConnell; for one thing he’s openly bragged about unfairly blocking Obama from replacing Judge Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court in 2016. But for Biden, here the personal outweighed the political.
It’s also a stark contrast from what Donald Trump, who openly hates McConnell (and says racist things about his wife), would say about his health issues had he won re-election. The former president has yet to comment on his second such episode.
In related news, Biden also discussed working with Ron DeSantis, a potential (albeit, now, unlikely) rival in 2024, on helping Florida with Hurricane Idalia. Biden had good words about him, too.
“No, believe it or not, I know this sounds strange, especially how the nature of politics today. But, you know, I was down there when the last major storm,” Biden said. “I spent a lot of time with him walking from from community to community, making sure he had what he needed to get it done.”
He added, “I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help. And I trust him to be able to suggest this is not about politics, is about taking care of the people of this state.”