Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in a surprisingly thin-skinned reaction, fired off an angry letter Friday to President Joe Biden, warning him that he won’t deal again on the debt ceiling because of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s “childish” “tantrum” that “poisoned the well.”
Eleven Senate Republicans voted Thursday with Democrats to temporarily lift the debt limit for just two months, through December, in a deal that McConnell had struck with Schumer.
But that night, Schumer railed against his Republican colleagues in the Senate for their “dangerous and risky partisan game” and praised fellow Democrats for pulling “our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”
McConnell emphasized to Biden in his letter that Republicans “filled the leadership vacuum that has troubled the Senate since January …. I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democratic government drifts into another avoidable crisis.”
He accused Schumer of dithering for so long that he “marched the nation to the doorstep of disaster” on the debt ceiling impasse. McConnell appeared to forget the debt was cranked up by former President Donald Trump’s profligate federal spending and massive corporate tax cuts.
Then, Thursday night, “in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry and corrosive that even Democratic senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him,” McConnell complained.
In fact, at one point while the New York Democrat was talking, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) can be seen sitting behind him with his head in his hands.
The Hill reported that Manchin, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Republican Whip Sen. John Thune of South Dakota all talked to Schumer afterward. Thune told reporters later: “I let him have it,” according to The Hill.
This “tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer,” McConnell complained.
McConnell warned that Schumer’s “childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”
In light of Schumer’s “hysterics … I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of future Democratic mismanagement,” McConnell concluded.
Critics noted that McConnell should be used to temper tantrums, given the abuse directed toward him by the former president. In one notable episode, Trump “spewed expletives” at McConnell after he congratulated Biden over winning the presidency, according to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their new book, “Peril.”