By ALEX GANGITANO, NIELS LESNIEWSKI and BRIDGET BOWMAN
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky talked to Roll Call’s Senate reporters about college basketball, owning a baseball team, and life with his wife, newly sworn-in Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Q: If you could have any other job, what would it be?
A: I think I’d like to be an owner of a Major League Baseball team. I don’t think the Nats are for sale, but you know, I’ve watched the difference a great owner makes. And I think the Lerner family has done a spectacular job of … hiring the right people, evaluating the talent through those people, and still not spending like the Yankees.
Q: You were student body president in high school. What about that role made you want to keep pursuing politics?
A: I don’t know. If I’d have lost, maybe I’d have gone a different direction. But being involved in politics in school, which I was in college and law school as well, got me interested in trying to do what I ended up doing. And then I was a summer intern for [Republican Sen. John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky] one year during college and one thing led to another.
Q: How will your home life change once your wife, Elaine Chao, becomes a member of the Cabinet again? (Note: Chao was confirmed Tuesday, after this interview.)A: Well, I always laughingly said what Elaine made for dinner was reservations. I think that’s not likely to change. I think the only big difference is you need to have a couple of schedulers who communicate a lot, but she’s always had a busy life. She did when she was not in the Cabinet. I don’t think it’ll change all that much, but she’ll be busier — no question about it.
Q: How far do you see the Louisville Cardinals going in the NCAA basketball tournament this year?
A: Probably not to the Final Four. But they’ve got a pretty good team. They’re in a really tough league — the ACC. When all is said and done, [University of Kentucky] will probably be in the Final Four again, but regretfully probably not with U of L there.
Q: Would you give any thought to inviting President Donald Trump to the Kentucky Derby?
A: That’s an interesting question. I wonder if he’s ever been? That’s worth thinking about. Of course, it would be hard to make the Derby great again since the Derby’s already great.