WASHINGTON ― Revelations that two of President Donald Trump’s nominees made false statements in their confirmation hearings were no reason to slow down their nominations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
Senate Democrats on the finance committee managed to stall votes on both Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price and Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin by boycotting the vote Tuesday morning.
They were demanding an explanation for why Mnuchin said his former bank, OneWest, did not use notorious robo-signing practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, when in fact it did so aggressively. They also want to know why Price said he paid the same price as anyone else for stock in a company that benefited from his legislation, when really he got an insider discount.
McConnell made clear such objections and stunts were not going to derail the nominees.
“None of this is going to lead to a different outcome. The cabinet secretaries are going to be approved,” McConnell told reporters.
Asked what the Senate’s response should be when nominees say things that don’t appear to be true, McConnell belittled the complaint as a mere prop that Democrats were using to harm Trump.
“If it wasn’t that, it’d be something else,” McConnell said. “They’re manufacturing issues on a daily basis to drag this process out, and to treat this president’s initial cabinet appointments differently from the way we have treated presidents of the Democratic Party in similar circumstances.”
McConnell thought it was Democrats who needed to be justifying themselves, not the GOP, which is in charge and will be able to pass the nominees even if no Democrats vote for them.
“I don’t see how they can explain to the American people how it is appropriate to prevent the administration from getting up and getting started,” McConnell said.
Asked if he had any concerns about the statements of the nominees, McConnell demurred.
“The committee chairmen are handling this in an appropriate way, in a way very similar to the way committee chairmen handled nominees in the past,” he said.