Apr 12, 2021 - World

McConnell praises Biden's response to Myanmar coup

Photo of Mitch McConnell sitting down

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a longtime advocate of democracy in Myanmar, told Politico Monday the Biden administration is "trying to do the right thing" in responding to the Myanmar military coup.

What he's saying: "On the domestic front, I have not yet witnessed something that I’ve been happy about," McConnell said. "But in this area, I think their instincts are good. I think they’re trying to do the right thing."

Between the lines: President Biden has consulted McConnell on the U.S.' response to the takeover in Myanmar, which has led police and military to kill over 700 people since February, Politico reports.

  • The Republican senator, an ally to Myanmar's democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called on the Biden administration to address the coup at the United Nations Security Council to ensure international attention.
  • “Our ability to influence this from halfway around the world is limited,” he said. “But we do have tools.”
  • "The lion share of the burden is on the State Department and the administration," he added. "But in any way that congressional action needs to be a part of this: Count me in."

A former top State Department official who used to work with McConnell's staff told Politico McConnell has been "frustrated at times that, on both sides of the aisle, the White House and the State Department hasn't always come up with effective Burma policies."

The big picture: The Biden administration has meted out a number of sanctions on Myanmar military officials in response, suspending trade engagement and imposing export controls.

Go deeper: UN envoy says "a bloodbath is imminent" in Myanmar

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