Former President Donald Trump blasted Mitch McConnell over his refusal to end the filibuster in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“He’s a stupid person,” Trump said about McConnell to Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker in the Vanity Fair interview. “I don’t think he’s smart enough … I tried to convince Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster, to terminate it, so that we would get everything, and he was a knucklehead and he didn’t do it.”
Mitch McConnell stated “President Trump tried to get me to orchestrate the end of the filibuster for a number of years, even tweeted about it, and I said ‘no, Mr. President, that is not in the best interest of the institution, it’s actually not in your best interest either,’”
“I said no. They’re prepared to steamroll the Senate into a majoritarian body like the House, because it inconveniently gets in the way of all they want to do,” McConnell added.
Trump summarized McConnell: “It’s like a baby compared to a grownup football player with brains on top of everything else,”
What is a Filibuster?
A Filibuster delays taking action on a bill by talking. allows for an unlimited debate between Democrats and Republicans, unless a supermajority of 60 senators vote to end it. This makes it impossible to pass legislation.
According to Senate.gov “On September 22, 1789, Pennsylvania Senator William Maclay wrote in his diary that the “design of the Virginians . . . was to talk away the time, so that we could not get the bill passed.” As the number of filibusters grew in the 19th century, the Senate had no formal process to allow a majority to end debate and force a vote on legislation or nominations. While there were relatively few examples of the practice before the 1830s, the strategy of “talking a bill to death” was common enough by mid-century to gain a colorful label—the filibuster. Derived from a Dutch word for “freebooter” and the Spanish “filibusteros”—to describe the pirates then raiding Caribbean islands—the term began appearing in American legislative debates in the 1850s.” it continues “The earliest filibusters also led to the first demands for what we now call “cloture,” a method for ending debate and bringing a question to a vote.”
Mitch McConnell’s Stance
Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, stated Democrats should work to agree on bipartisan legislation, rather than trying to end or change the filibuster. McConnell has warned Democrats of the consequences if the filibuster is removed, saying Republicans would “use other parliamentary maneuvers to stall work in the chamber”.
President Biden has stated he does not support a change to end the filibuster.
Filibusters are not part of the U.S. Constitution, and are controversial, as they can be used as a political weapon to ensure a bill is not passed. While their definition has changed over time, the existence of the filibuster still remains a tool of the senate. While having the option for a filibuster ensures controversial legislation is discussed, filibusters have become increasingly abused over the past few decades, leading to many important bills being stalled. Should the potential for a filibuster be permanently removed?