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McConnell was not shocked by Trump's 2020 loss, said there were 'so many Maalox moments' during his presidency: book

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trump mcconnell scotus rbg state of the union
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump after Trump's State of the Union Address in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2020. Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • Mitch McConnell was not shocked by Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in 2020, a new book says.

  • "There were so many Maalox moments during the four years," McConnell told his staff, per the book.

  • McConnell treaded carefully in communicating with Biden while Trump disputed the election results.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

After Joe Biden was declared the US president-elect by most major news outlets in November, many Republicans were in disbelief that the former vice president had beaten the incumbent, President Donald Trump.

But Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican Senate leader who had served in the upper chamber alongside Biden for decades, was said to be "the least surprised," according to a new book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, an early copy of which was obtained by Insider.

McConnell, who had been a governing partner with Trump, shepherding through three Supreme Court justices and scores of appeals judges, along with passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other conservative priorities, nonetheless had to contend with the wildly unpredictable president, who could tank a piece of legislation as easily as he could sell it to conservatives.

Woodward and Costa wrote in "Peril" that the senator, who at the time was closely watching the Georgia Senate runoff contests that would determine whether Republicans controlled the upper chamber or ceded control to the Democrats, chose to give Trump some space as the election results were still sinking in.

The book says that despite being in the same political party, McConnell told his staff that the president's actions could often lead to stressful predicaments.

"There were so many Maalox moments during the four years," he told his staff, per the book, referring to the antacid commonly used to treat stress-induced heartburn.

During this time, McConnell continued to tread lightly with Trump - working behind the scenes to try to avoid upsetting the president.

"McConnell worried Trump might react negatively and upend the upcoming, hotly contested runoff Senate elections in Georgia," the book said. "He also said he did not want Biden, a serial telephone user, to call him. Any call from Biden was sure to infuriate Trump and set off unwanted calls from him, asking if he believed Biden had won the presidency."

To keep things under wraps, McConnell was said to have reached out to GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to speak privately with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Biden confidant, about a "back channel" for McConnell to communicate with the president-elect.

Cornyn reportedly said the senators were "in a delicate situation" since Trump might have assumed the men were "cutting a deal behind his back to cut him out."

Around that time, McConnell publicly defended Trump's right to contest the election results, with the president's campaign targeting ballots in swing states he narrowly lost including Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

"Obviously, no states have yet certified their election results," McConnell said at the time. "We have at least one or two states that are already on track for a recount, and I believe the president may have legal challenges underway in at least five states."

He added: "President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options."

The president and his legal team eventually filed more than 40 unsuccessful election-related lawsuits in courts across the country.

After Trump's second Senate impeachment trial, for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot, McConnell declined to vote to remove the president from office but rebuked him on the Senate floor. Later, McConnell said he would support Trump in 2024 if he were the GOP nominee.

But there's no love lost between the two men. Trump continues to insult McConnell on a regular basis. And the now-minority leader has his focus on regaining control of the Senate in 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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