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Top Democrat Julián Castro criticizes Biden for describing Mitch McConnell as a 'friend'

Business Insider
Business Insider
 2022-02-04

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President Joe Biden shakes hands with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on February 3, 2022.
    • Julián Castro criticised Joe Biden for describing his friendship with Mitch McConnell.
    • "Barack Obama might beg to differ," tweeted Castro of Biden's remarks.
    • McConnell has deployed a range of hardball tactics to frustrate Democrats in the Senate.

Top Democrat and former presidential candidate Julián Castro criticized President Joe Biden for speaking warmly of his friendship with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Biden highlighted his relationship with McConnell on Thursday as part of an appeal to national unity at the National Prayer Breakfast in DC.

"Mitch, I don't want to hurt your reputation, but we really are friends," Biden said. "And that is not an epiphany we're having at the moment. You're a man of your word, you're a man of honor. Thank you for being my friend."

McConnell is reviled by many Democrats fot the hardball tactics he employed to stymie the legislative agendas of the Biden and Obama administrations.

Biden's comments did not impress Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio and as HUD secretary in President Barack Obama's cabinet.

"Barack Obama might beg to differ. Also, anyone who's been watching McConnell for the two decades," tweeted Castro, who ran for president in 2020 but dropped out early on and ultimately endorsed Biden.

McConnell famously embraced extreme tactics to frustrate Obama's legislative agenda — including government shutdowns and the deployment of the filibuster rule. He is criticized by some for helping to cement the partisan divide in US politics.

In a Fox News interview in 2019, McConnell boasted of blocking Obama's federal judge appointees for two years, and denying a hearing for Obama Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland, now the US Attorney General.

Biden has been keen to a working relationship with McConnell, with whom he served in the Senate for decades before becoming Obama's vice president.

But McConnell is under pressure from the populist wing of his party, most notably former President Donald Trump, who have pushed back hard at any sign of compromise with Democrats

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