McConnell talks addiction law, not presidential politics, at Elizabethtown stop

10/11/2016 09:16 PM

ELIZABETHTOWN — After a newly unshackled Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter barrage on Tuesday against House Speaker Paul Ryan and other “disloyal” Republicans, mum was the word for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I don’t have anything to say about the presidential race,” he said during a press conference at the Elizabethtown Police Department when asked about Trump’s sexually aggressive remarks in a 2005 recording that caused more than two dozen Republican governors, senators and representatives to rescind their endorsements from the GOP nominee.

McConnell harshly criticized comments on the “Access Hollywood” tapes as “repugnant and unacceptable” but did not take back his support of Trump.

Ryan, R-Wis., told congressional Republicans in a conference call Monday that he would no longer campaign with Trump while still endorsing him for president, which drew the Republican nominee’s ire on Twitter.

Trump also singled out Arizona Sen. John McCain, who withdrew his endorsement after the New York businessman’s abusive comments came to light.

McConnell was equally silent on presidential politics in Danville on Monday. The Associated Press reported that McConnell twice requested a reprieve from the subject at the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce luncheon and didn’t answer questions on the race afterward.

McConnell was in Elizabethtown to discuss a new federal law to combat opiate addiction, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

CARA received $37 million annually in a stopgap spending resolution passed by Congress in September, which includes grant funding for initiatives such as drug-prevention programs, increasing access to naloxone and investigating heroin and fentanyl traffickers.

“You can anticipate communities all across America going after this funding,” McConnell said, noting that heroin addiction is a problem throughout the country.

He said GOP presidential contenders said it was a concern that topped others in New Hampshire, the second state to cast ballots in Republican presidential primaries.

“If it had risen all the way to the presidential campaign, you get the drift of just how pervasive this problem is all across the country, and we, regretfully, are one of the worst states,” McConnell said.

“Certainly nothing to be proud of, but what you’ve got all across the state is people really going, getting their act together, going after it, and you’ve got some of the finest right here behind me today.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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