The Chatter: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell staying out of presidential race, kind of

12/21/2015 11:53 AM

The 2016 presidential race is dominating news headlines and conversations across the nation, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he’s made it a point to stay out of the presidential contest and would rather concentrate on what the Senate has done for the American people.

“This has been an extraordinarily accomplished first year of the new Senate majority,” McConnell said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tapper started by asking McConnell about Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has been very critical of McConnell’s leadership, and what the senior senator from Kentucky thinks of Cruz’s leadership.

McConnell didn’t bite, instead talking about what has been accomplished in the Senate with the year-end omnibus spending bill passing last week.

But while McConnell deflected questions about Cruz and outsiders winning the Republican contest, he isn’t staying completely out of the 2016 presidential race.

When asked by Tapper if he supported U.S ground troops in Iraq and Syria, McConnell started his answer by slamming Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state and front runner in the Democratic primary, saying that “the election of Hillary Clinton would be a third term for Barack Obama’s foreign policy.”

Clinton’s foreign policy plan isn’t the only one that drew criticism from McConnell. Republican front runner Donald Trump’s call for a ban to Muslims entering the United States is not a plan McConnell supports.

“It would prevent the president of Afghanistan from coming to the United States, the king of Jordan couldn’t come to the United States,” he said. “Obviously we’re not going to do that.”

Despite this criticism of Trump’s proposal, McConnell was not willing to speculate about who will win the election next November, although he said, “Obviously I hope it’s a Republican.”

You can watch the full interview here:

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