Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Monday criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for making a “secret deal” with the White House to nominate an anti-abortion attorney for a federal judgeship.
The nomination of Chad Meredith, a state attorney known for defending Kentucky’s anti-abortion law, fell apart after the Biden White House withdrew their support for his nomination. In a statement, the White House pointed to Paul’s refusal to back Meredith as the reason they were dropping the conservative lawyer.
“In considering potential District Court nominees, the White House learned that Sen. Rand Paul will not return a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” a spokesman said. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”
Speaking to reporters Monday, Paul insisted that McConnell was the one to blame for the failed nomination, and that he had tried to make a “secret deal” with President Biden instead of openly communicating. “McConnell’s to blame for tanking this because he tried to do it secretly [and] Democrats caught wind up in the state,” Paul said.
“We never heard about it from McConnell’s office,” the Kentucky Republican added. “And his people simply said, ‘You can’t do this but we can.’ You know, ‘We’re so powerful, we can do whatever we want.’”
Paul also clarified that he would have supported Meredith’s nomination, had it not been for McConnell’s secrecy about the deal. The Kentucky senator maintained that McConnell should have had the decency to “talk to his fellow state senator” about the process.
McConnell denied Paul’s allegations, claiming that there “was no deal” and that Biden’s plan to nominate Meredith had simply been a “personal friendship gesture.” The Senate minority leader also criticized Paul’s opposition as “just utterly pointless.”
“The net result of this is it has prevented me from getting my kind of judge out of a liberal Democratic president,” McConnell said Friday.
Others were more skeptical of McConnell’s claim that the nomination had been nothing more than a “personal friendship gesture.” When asked about what the White House had told him regarding any concessions made by McConnell, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said they “didn’t have a specific answer.”