Congressional Leaders Warn of Democratic Check on Trump Presidency

McConnell frets that unfettered pipeline of judges will be halted

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), left, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conduct a rally at Skyline Attractions in Orlando on November 2, 2018. Graham has been active in campaigning to preserve the GOP Senate majority, which GOP leaders warned Monday was at risk.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), left, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conduct a rally at Skyline Attractions in Orlando on November 2, 2018. Graham has been active in campaigning to preserve the GOP Senate majority, which GOP leaders warned Monday was at risk.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted November 5, 2018 at 12:15pm

Republican leaders pitched their closing midterm argument Monday: that Democratic gains would mean a check on the agenda of President Donald Trump, including the unimpeded seating of conservative judges, and a halt to the president’s border wall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his and the president’s efforts to “remake the federal judiciary would come to a screeching halt if there was a Majority Leader [Charles E.] Schumer.”

“Nothing is more important than continuing our progress” to put conservative jurists on federal benches across the country, he said on a telephone town hall organized by the Trump campaign organization.

McConnell’s concerns could be seen in separate comments Monday by the senator who could be chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Graham said, “we’re going to be full throttle when it comes to judges,” if the GOP keeps the Senate majority. 

Back on the Trump call, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the midterms are “no longer red versus blue,” and returned to the GOP argument that Democrats would institute socialism in the country if in the majority. Like the president, however, who is also making that claim at his final rallies, he did not mention the president’s veto power, which would block any such Democratic legislation from becoming law.

McCarthy and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel warned low GOP turnout could have a big impact.

“Democrats are turning out. They just are,” McDaniel said.

“This is going to come down to a few votes,” McCarthy said.

[Roll Call’s 2018 Election Guide]

“It can be undone … by the Democrats if they win,” the president said on the call of his preferred agenda. 

The president’s rhetoric did not match what he often uses at his campaign rallies — though he is heading to rallies later Monday in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.