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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during an online Trump campaign event Monday former President Obama should have "kept his mouth shut" on President Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Obama has rarely commented on Trump since leaving office, but he has begun to speak out on the president and his administration's policies. McConnell noted former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush "kept their mouths shut" on successors because they deemed it inappropriate to comment on other presidents.

What he's saying: "I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut. You know, we know he doesn't like much this administration is doing, that's understandable," McConnell said to Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump, who is the president's daughter-in-law.

  • "But I think it's a little bit classless frankly to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot. You were there for eight years."
"I think the tradition that the Bushes set up of not critiquing the president who comes after you is a good tradition."
— McConnell's remarks to Lara Trump

The big picture: Obama began speaking out on Trump administration policies in April, when he tweeted the U.S. is still waiting for a "coherent national plan" to manage the pandemic.

  • In comments leaked to Yahoo News Friday he called Trump's handling of the pandemic a "chaotic disaster" and said the "rule of law is at risk" over the Justice Department's dropping of charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
  • Trump addressed the leaked comments during a tweetstorm on matters including Russia and his predecessor's administration Sunday evening, retweeting a conservative criticizing Obama for his leaked remarks. "He got caught, OBAMAGATE!" Trump said in his retweet. He's repeatedly accused Obama of committing a crime, though he didn't elaborate on his claim during a news briefing Monday.

Go deeper

McConnell challenges Amy McGrath to "Lincoln-Douglas style debate"

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday challenged his Democratic competitor, Amy McGrath, to a "socially distanced, Lincoln-Douglas style debate" with "no notes at the table, no props and no audience."

Why it matters: McConnell has held a steady lead over McGrath in most polling for the race, adding a layer of intrigue over his request.

Senate report finds Manafort passed campaign data to Russian intelligence officer

Paul Manafort. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the fifth and final volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which details "counterintelligence threats and vulnerabilities."

Why it matters: The bipartisan, 966-page report goes further than the Mueller report in showing the extent of Russia's connections to members of the Trump campaign, and how the Kremlin was able to take advantage of the transition team's inexperience to gain access to sensitive information.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Aug 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"It is what it is" becomes DNC catchphrase

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

It's the new "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" — President Bill Clinton's instant-classic evasion in grand jury testimony in 1998.

What's happening: President Trump's comment about the virus to Jonathan Swan on "Axios on HBO" — "It is what it is" — became an online sensation.

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