Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who blocked former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting a hearing in 2016, says his "decision not to fill the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy" was the "most consequential thing I've ever done."
In an interview with The New York Times Magazine posted Tuesday, McConnell was asked how he felt about his legacy being linked with that of President Donald Trump. But the Senate veteran rejected the premise.
"I don't think so," he said. "I think the most consequential call I made was before President Trump came to office.
"The decision not to fill the Scalia vacancy – I think that's the most consequential thing I've ever done."
He further stressed any link with Trump on judicial appointments, regulations, and taxes is "because he's done what I thought ought to be done."
"If Marco Rubio had been president, we'd have done it. If Jeb Bush had been president, we'd have done it. I say that not to take anything away from President Trump, but he took good advice on all three of those areas that are traditional Republican positions," he said.
His part in two SCOTUS appointments under Trump as well as in seating 83 lower-court judges has sealed McConnell's place in history, according to Leonard Leo, a conservative legal activist and executive vice president of the Federalist Society and adviser to the Trump administration.
Leo called McConnell "in my view, the most consequential majority leader, certainly, in modern history."
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