Senate Republicans re-elect Mitch McConnell to majority leader

Mitch McConnell
FILE- In this Dec. 18, 2015, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington. McConnell, R-Ky., urged his colleagues to vote Wednesday, Jan. 20, to move ahead on a House-passed bill that would require new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from three high-ranking ranking federal officials before any refugee from Syria or Iraq could come to the United States. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans have re-elected Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell to be majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January and starts working on Donald Trump’s agenda.

McConnell is widely popular among Republicans and his election was by acclimation on Wednesday. The 74-year-old is considered a clever tactician who mixes conservative leanings with a willingness to cut bipartisan deals when necessary.

McConnell was Senate minority leader for eight years before becoming majority leader when the GOP took control in 2015.

He enraged Democrats by refusing to let the Senate consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy last February. That paid dividends when Trump was elected president.

McConnell distanced himself from Trump during the campaign, but says he’s ready to work with him.

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