Mitch McConnell defends obstructionism

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2016 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats opened a last-minute push Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, for new talks on must-do legislation to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend, fight the Zika virus and help flood-ravaged Louisiana rebuild. “Democrats have been clear that Congress should not leave Flint and other lead-tainted communities out of any (stopgap spending) negotiation that includes emergency disaster funding,” said Reid, and other top Democrats in a Tuesday morning letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is speaking up for obstructionism.

Addressing a chamber of commerce meeting in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican said Wednesday that obstruction can be OK — as long as it has a purpose.

That’s different from futile obstruction, which he argues Senate Democrats are practicing to stall the formation of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

“Look, I’m not against obstruction if you have a purpose. And I’ve from time to time been involved in that myself,” McConnell said.

“Obstruction with a purpose is different from futile gestures. The futile gestures that are going on in the Senate right now are our Democratic friends using every tool available to slow the process down for Cabinet confirmations, but they have no chance for success.”

No Democrat would dispute McConnell’s acknowledgment that he’s been involved in obstructionism himself, particularly regarding former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, denied a hearing by McConnell for 10 months last year.

But whether obstructionism is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder, and Democrats believe their obstruction of Trump’s Cabinet is not futile. Democrats say they’re shedding light on the nominees’ records even if they can’t ultimately defeat them.

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