Senate Majority Leader talks inaugurations past and present

Published: Jan. 18, 2017 at 10:50 PM EST
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From Ronald Reagan.

"It was so bitter cold that they moved the ceremony into the Capitol," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.

To George W. Bush

“I got to be the first person to say to the audience the ladies and gentleman the President of the United States," he added.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has a story from each inauguration he’s attended. I sat down with him to hear what he expects this Friday.

“I think we need to do everything we can to unify the country going forward," McConnell said.

With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump comes new opportunity for McConnell. It’s the first time in his tenure as Senate Majority Leader that he’ll serve with a Republican senate, house and president.

"We got an opportunity to actually move the country in the direction that most of us have been hoping we could," McConnell said.

But not all members of Congress want to move in that direction. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers said they’ll leave empty seats on Inauguration Day, including Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth. McConnell said it’s nothing new.

"I remember people not coming to the inauguration in 2001 it does seem this year its created more attention," he added.

Also creating attention, Trumps cabinet nominees and Senate Democrats vow to block them.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, "we have seen repeated efforts from the Trump transition, aided and abetted by Senate Republicans, to jam through nominees in a way that hides their views from the American people."

Schumer leading the Democratic push back against GOP leaders for rushing through the confirmation hearings. McConnell said, when he was minority leader, they gave then President Obama seven nominees to swear in on Inauguration Day. This year, he says they’re not getting nearly that much.

"Well they’re saying they’re only going to give us three. And as I just told you we gave Obama seven on the first day. In particular, it is important to get the national security people in place and as of this discussion you and I are having they’re saying we’re going to get Pompeo- CIA, Kelly- Homeland Security and Mattis- Defense. We should be getting more than three. There are a bunch of other nominees that aren’t controversial. Two of them happen to be women, three of them happen to be minorities that are not controversial. And the democrats say they are going to sit on them now. Why? There is no rational basis, because no body seems to be opposed to them.," McConnell added.

The senate will convene shortly after to start confirming Trumps cabinet nominees.

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