COVINGTON, KY-- Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected the idea expressed by President Trump that media were the enemies or the opposition on Thursday. “I don’t view you guys as the enemy. I view that you have a job to do,” the leader of the Senate Republicans told reporters at a press conference.
“I expect adversarial questions. And you rarely disappoint me. And I think its part of what make America function,” McConnell said. “We need a free and open press and we certainly have that and so that’s my view.”
Around the same time that McConnell made those comments, White House senior advisor Steve Bannon reiterated his view that the media represented the “opposition.” At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference held near Washington D.C. Bannon declared, “I think if you look at the opposition party and how they portray the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and now they’re portraying the administration, it’s always wrong.”
For his part the President tweeted last Friday that the “Fake News media” were the “enemy of the American People.”
“I’m not a fan of all the extra chatter, I’ve been quite candid about that,” McConnell commented on Mr. Trump’s twitter habit at a speech before the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati Chambers of Commerce, “he’s not interested in my advice on tweeting but I like what he’s doing.”
When asked by the local businesspeople what he hoped Trump would say during the address to Congress next Tuesday, McConnell began, “A tweet free…” leading the crowd to break out in laughter. He continued, saying that he hoped he heard an “optimistic and uplifting message about where America needs to go.”
Earlier in the day former Speaker of the House John Boehner reportedly predicted that the Republican push to repeal and replace Obamacare would fail. I sure hope he’s wrong,” McConnell responded when asked by reporters, “we need to do that, it’s a commitment we made to the American people, we need to keep it.”
Like his other Republican colleagues nationwide, his event was dogged by protests both inside the venue and outside where a large group of demonstrators were. When two protestors interrupted his speech in quick succession, McConnell was nonplussed and just continued speaking.
While calling the act of protesting as “American as apple pie,” the veteran Senator asserted that engaging protestors was a futile exercise.
“Don’t buy the notion that these are just uninvolved citizens. This is all quite well organized. There’s nothing wrong with that I’m not putting them down,” McConnell said, “but these are people who have no interest in the direction of the Trump administration and the Republican congress would like to go.”