By Manu Raju, CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent
Republican Sen. Rand Paul chided Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday after President Joe Biden decided not to nominate a conservative to a federal district courtship in their home state of Kentucky, intensifying a blame game over what McConnell believed could have been a rare Republican victory on the judiciary under a Democratic president.
Paul told CNN that McConnell never consulted with him before cutting a deal with Biden to name Chad Meredith to the post. And without Paul’s support, the White House said it wouldn’t name Meredith to the post since he lacked backing from home-state senators, relieving Democrats who were concerned with Meredith’s anti-abortion views.
“McConnell did whatever secret deal he did with the White House without talking to me,” Paul said Monday. “And so we simply said that we’re not against Meredith, but McConnell is going to at least discuss it with his other state senator.”
Paul, who said he learned about the Meredith pick from the FBI, added: “I think ultimately, McConnell is to blame for tanking this thing, because he tried to do it secretly, Democrats caught wind down of it in the state and they also tried to do it secretly even from his Republican counterpart.”
McConnell was angry at Paul’s position, telling The New York Times last week: “The net result of this is it has prevented me from getting my kind of judge out of a liberal Democratic president,” adding Paul’s position is “just utterly pointless.”
McConnell’s office declined to comment on Paul’s remarks.
Paul said he was “very open” to the Meredith pick — and could have supported him if McConnell handled it differently.
“I was willing to talk about it and say — because look, I’m pro life as they come, I would have supported Chad Meredith, I know the family,” Paul said. “But in the end, the whole thing was, we put out word to McConnell’s office that we were willing to discuss this. I don’t know why he wanted, but he never offered really to discuss it.”
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