An excerpt from a new book on the closing days of Donald Trump’s presidency says that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) worked behind the scenes with now-President Joe Biden to ensure that the exiting president didn’t create more turmoil after losing re-election.
According to Business Insider, McConnell expected Trump to lose and had been grumbling to aides that “there were so many Maalox moments during the four years” under Trump, and things did not get any better after the election, according to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book “Peril.”
With that in mind, McConnell was concerned about keeping the two Georgia Senate seats in a run-off, so he contacted Biden through Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and pleaded with him to refrain from calling Trump at all costs.
“McConnell worried Trump might react negatively and upend the upcoming, hotly contested runoff Senate elections in Georgia,” the book states according to Business Insider. “He also said he did not want Biden, a serial telephone user, to call him. Any call from Biden was sure to infuriate Trump and set off unwanted calls from him, asking if he believed Biden had won the presidency.”
“To keep things under wraps, McConnell reached out to GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to speak privately with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Biden confidant, about a ‘back channel’ for the then-majority leader to have a level of communication with the president-elect. Cornyn said that the senators were ‘in a delicate situation since Trump may have assumed that the men were ‘cutting a deal behind his back to cut him out,’ which would make him ‘even more irrational,” the re[prt adds.
Despite the fact that McConnell had been a governing partner with Trump, shepherding through three Supreme Court justices and scores of appeals judges, as well as passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other conservative priorities, he still had to deal with the wildly unpredictable president, who could kill a bill as easily as sell it to conservatives.
As the election results were still sinking in, the senator, who was closely watching the Georgia Senate runoff contests that would determine whether Republicans retained control of the upper chamber or ceded control to the Democrats, chose to give Trump some space, as Woodward and Costa wrote in “Peril.”
According to the book, despite being in the same political party, McConnell warned his staff that the now-former president’s actions might often lead to tense situations.
“There were so many Maalox moments during the four years,” he reportedly told his staff.
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During this period, McConnell remained cautious with Trump, acting behind the scenes to prevent Biden from phoning him for fear of upsetting the president, whom the then-majority leader still sought to keep in his camp.