Sen. Mitch McConnell sits down for one-on-one interview with WDR - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sen. Mitch McConnell sits down for one-on-one interview with WDRB's Lindsay Allen

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Senator Mitch McConnell says dysfunction in the Senate is over, but his critics argue that he's the one putting up hurdles for politicians to work together. 

WDRB's Lindsay Allen sat down for a one-on-one interview with the Senate Majority Leader to set the record straight.

For a full TRANSCRIPT of that interview, CLICK HERE.

Senator McConnell is still defending his decision not to hold confirmation hearings in the Senate for President Obama's pick to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.

"Your critics call you an obstructionist," Allen said. "Why are they wrong?"

"The Senate is not obstructing anything," McConnell said. "The Senate is choosing not to act in the middle of a presidential election year because the American people should decide who should make the appointment."

But in a presidential election year, dubbed the year of "the outsider", voters seem to be rejecting the same old "politics".

"Is this not a very example, the back-and-forth between you and the President, an example of the politics as usual people are trying to reject?" Allen asked.

"I understand people being upset," McConnell said. "But the last election, the American people elected a Republican Senate Majority. That's the last time the people spoke. They were not saying, 'Go to Washington and give the President everything he wants.'"

McConnell also spoke about his relationship with Donald Trump.

"He's called me a couple of times, and the last time he called was about a week ago," McConnell said. "I'll tell you what I said. I said, 'It would be a good idea for you and all the other presidential candidates to be condemning violence no matter who starts the fight.'"

"Will you support Donald Trump is he is the Republican nominee?" Allen asked.

"I am going to support the nominee of our party and the way that works is when you get 1,237 delegates, you're the nominee," McConnell said.

"Is there any truth to the chatter that you are working behind closed doors to make sure he is not the nominee?" Allen asked.

"Well, there aren't any closed doors -- that's the problem," McConnell said. "People assume you could fix all this if you wanted to. There's no back room negotiation that could determine who the nominee is."

"So Congress really isn't like House of Cards?" Allen asked, laughing.

"No it really isn't," McConnell said.

All joking aside, the Senate Majority Leader calls the Department of Veterans Affairs "incompetent" for its delays to build a new VA hospital in Louisville.

"It's embarrassing," McConnell said. "You know when this was announced? 2006."

"Anything you can do to speed the process along?" Allen asked.

"We’ve been beating them up for years.," McConnell replied.

He also calls out the President for not being a leader in the fight against ISIS.  A Kentucky native is among the victims killed in Brussels.

"We're probably going to have additional events, not only in Europe, but here," he said.

McConnell also acknowledged that the biggest war we face here in Kentucky is the heroin epidemic, something he's attempting to address in the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

"You have more people dying of overdoses than car wrecks in Kentucky," McConnell said.

"And you’re confident this bill goes far enough?" asked Allen.

"No I’m not, but it’s a big first step," McConnell said.

"In 2014 when the people of Kentucky re-elected you to the Senate, you promised you would get the Senate working again," Allen said. "Are you fulfilling that campaign promise?"

"Absolutely," McConnell said. "Dysfunction in the Senate is over."

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved. 

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