Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Biden have not spoken since the 46th commander-in-chief took office, the top Republican lawmaker revealed Wednesday — despite the president’s repeated vows of a “unity” mandate.
Speaking to Fox News, McConnell (R-Ky.) made the remarks after being asked when he expected an invitation to meet with the president.
“I haven’t been invited to the White House,” the top-ranking Senate Republican said. “So far, this administration is not interested in doing anything on a bipartisan basis at the political center.”
“They’d be more than happy to pick off a few of our members and do what they would like to do [legislatively], but there’s been no efforts whatsoever by the president or the administration to do anything in the political center,” he continued.
Asked if the two had spoken at all since Inauguration Day over two months ago, McConnell said no.
“Um, I don’t believe I’ve spoken with him since he was sworn in,” he said. “We had a couple of conversations before then.”
Much was made of Biden and McConnell’s relationship in the months between the November election and the Jan. 5 Senate run-off elections, when it was unclear which party would control the upper chamber of Congress.
Biden was elected on a platform of unity and bipartisanship, and was entering the White House as a three-decade veteran of the Senate, where he and McConnell developed a personal friendship.
In the final weeks of the Obama administration — with Biden acting as president of the Senate in his capacity as vice president — McConnell paid tribute to his friend on the Senate floor and offered an insight into their working relationship.
“He doesn’t waste time telling me why I am wrong. He gets down to brass tacks, and he keeps in sight the stakes. There’s a reason ‘Get Joe on the phone’ is shorthand for ‘Time to get serious’ in my office.”
Of all the presidents McConnell has served alongside, Republican and Democrat, Biden is the one with whom he has had the longest and arguably closest personal relationship.
The Senate leader referred to his relationship with Biden as a “friendship” in a December interview with Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Scott Jennings, a former McConnell adviser and GOP strategist, noting he was the only Senate Republican to attend the funeral of Biden’s son Beau.
Speaking to Fox News last week, McConnell offered more insight into their relationship up to his inauguration and an update on where they stood now.
“Joe Biden is a really nice guy, everybody liked him,” the Kentucky senator began before sharing his views on the president’s politics.
“I never remembered him as a moderate,” he continued, referencing Biden’s promises of unity and bipartisanship during the 2020 campaign compared to his more progressive primary competitors.
“I’m not surprised that he’s not a moderate. He just seemed moderate, I guess, running for the nomination compared to everyone else who wanted to be president,” he said, laughing. “So I’m not surprised there’s a left-wing administration. I anticipated it.”
“And that’s why it’s going to be very difficult to craft bipartisan agreements, because they want to jam things through their way, hard left, which I don’t think the American people expect any bipartisanship to support.”
In the early days of Biden’s presidency, he invited a group of GOP senators to the Oval Office to discuss proposals for COVID-19 relief.
The meeting was his first with any lawmakers since taking office, and the effort toward unity was largely praised from both sides of the aisle.
While the group, which included Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, offered optimistic comments on the potential for bipartisanship after the meeting, nothing materialized.
The president then opted to move forward with a largely progressive agenda, choosing to pursue legislation unlikely to garner much GOP backing.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.