It looked rocky there for a while after Obamacare repeal went down and Trump started sniping at him. But McConnell is nothing if not disciplined. He kept his head down, ignored the jibes, and finished the year strong with the tax bill (the Senate added the ANWR provisions and individual-mandate repeal). You wouldn’t think McConnell, a patient and tactically shrewd institutionalist, is a natural partner for Trump. But it was McConnell’s stalwartness on the Scalia seat that created the predicate for the Neil Gorsuch confirmation, and he’s been focused on judges since the election, one reason that a record number of circuit-court judges have been confirmed.
It was possible earlier this year to see Trump at war with his own congressional leadership and trying to govern with Chuck and Nancy. Instead, yesterday we got this:
I would like to congratulate @SenateMajLdr on having done a fantastic job both strategically & politically on the passing in the Senate of the MASSIVE TAX CUT & Reform Bill. I could have not asked for a better or more talented partner. Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2017
We’ve heard a lot from Steve Bannon about supporting Trump’s agenda, which for him seems to mean running as many fringey Senate candidates as possible. In contrast, McConnell and other congressional leaders have supported the Trump agenda this year in the much more meaningful sense of trying to make much of it law. They are ending on a high note.