Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said that he blew up an agreement between President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because he was snubbed from discussions, Politico reports.
Biden planned to nominate anti-abortion attorney Chad Meredith, a former top lawyer for right-wing ex-governor Matt Bevin, to a federal judgeship in Kentucky. But the White House said it dropped the plan after Paul refused to return a “blue slip” consenting to Meredith’s appointment.
The plans drew backlash from Democrats, including Gov. Andy Beshear, who called the pick “indefensible” and released emails confirming the plan.
The White House announced last week that it will not go forward with the nomination.
Paul told Politico that McConnell went behind his back to cut a “secret deal” with Biden and said it was “a little bit insulting” that he only learned of the plan while the FBI was conducting a background check on Meredith.
“McConnell’s to blame for tanking this because he tried to do it secretly, Democrats caught wind up in the state. And they also tried to do it secret[ly],” Paul told reporters. “We never heard about it from McConnell’s office. And his people simply said, ‘you can’t do this but we can.’ You know, ‘we’re so powerful, we can do whatever we want.’”
“We have no reason to be opposed to Chad Meredith, other than we want at least the courtesy of … the minority leader, thinking that he’s not so important that he doesn’t have to talk to his fellow state senator,” Paul added. “The left ended up hating it, but also even his colleagues — myself — weren’t too happy about him doing it without having any discussion.”
A source familiar with the process denied Paul’s claim that he was cut out of discussions.
“We’ve had conversations for months about this on the staff level,” the source told Politico.
“Senators are together a lot, there’s no lack of access between any senators, certainly senators of the same party,” the person said. “The conservative base does not care about an inside the Beltway process argument. They would like a Federalist Society rock star in a lifetime judicial seat.”