McConnell’s position as the party’s longest-serving Senate leader stands in stark contrast to the GOP leader’s situation. Kevin McCarthy, who on the same day failed to secure the votes needed to become speaker in a first ballot in the House. McConnell, meanwhile, reached his all-time high after fending off his first managerial challenge in November. Ten senators voted for Sen instead. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), following a disappointing midterm performance for the GOP.
Sen. John Corny (R-Texas), a close adviser to McConnell, said Tuesday he was “not at all surprised” that McConnell broke Mansfield’s record.
“If you have read [McConnell’s] book, ‘The Long Game,’ it’s something he’s wanted to do his whole life,” Cornyn said.
McConnell also commemorated other Senate leaders, including former Senate Republican Leader Henry Cabot Lodge, former Senate Democratic Leader Robert Byrd and former Senate Democratic Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Mansfield succeeded Johnson as leader of the Senate.
McConnell said that under Mansfield’s leadership in the Senate, “debates became more orderly and less theatrical.” And he highlighted Mansfield’s interest in Asia, describing him as a “trustworthy hand in foreign policy”.
“Mansfield was a clever strategist who knew how to rally his conference. He knew when to go into battle and when to coordinate with his counterpart Everett Dirksen,” McConnell said. “In short, he knew how to make the Senate work.
McConnell, 80, first elected leader of the GOP in the Senate in 2006, served as majority leader from 2015 to early 2021. During that time, McConnell has drawn ire from Democrats for blocking the pick of the Supreme Court of former President Barack Obama in 2016, Merrick Garland, of the Senate review. , in addition to Obama’s other judicial nominees. Under former President Donald Trump, Senate Republicans confirmed three Supreme Court justices, shifting the court’s ideological balance, along with 231 district, circuit court and U.S. Court justices of international trade.
While McConnell worked closely with the Trump White House on judicial nominees and the 2017 GOP tax cuts, her relationship with the former president soured after the 2020 presidential election. the Jan. 6 attack, McConnell described Trump as “practically and morally responsible,” but declined to convict him in his second impeachment trial. The Kentucky Republican has since avoided speaking directly about the former president.
Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer praised McConnell for breaking the record, during his own floor speech.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, so hopefully we can find ways to come together and not succumb to the traffic jam,” Schumer said. “For the good of this chamber and for the good of our country.”
McConnell became the longest-serving GOP leader in June 2018, defeating former Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.). He is also Kentucky’s longest-serving senator, first elected in 1984.