Biden unites with McConnell and says parties can work together if ‘egos’ are dropped


President Joe Biden united with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky Wednesday and preached that bipartisanship in Washington was possible.

‘I believe it sends an important message, an important message to the entire country,’ Biden said of the Covington, Kentucky photo-op that included not just McConnell, but Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and outgoing GOP Sen. Rob Portman. 

‘We can work together, we can get things done, we can move the nation forward if we just drop a little bit of our egos and focus on what is needed in our country,’ the president said. 

Back in Washington, factions of the new Republican majority were still at war over who would become the next speaker of the House. That provided a splitscreen moment for the president and for McConnell, making them look like the adults.

President Joe Biden (right) united with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (left) in Kentucky Wednesday and preached that bipartisanship in Washington was possible

President Joe Biden (right) united with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (left) in Kentucky Wednesday and preached that bipartisanship in Washington was possible

'We can work together, we can get things done, we can move the nation forward if we just drop a little bit of our egos and focus on what is needed in our country,' the president said

‘We can work together, we can get things done, we can move the nation forward if we just drop a little bit of our egos and focus on what is needed in our country,’ the president said

After his speech, President Joe Biden used the bridge to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to eat lunch at the Just Q'in BBQ restaurant

After his speech, President Joe Biden used the bridge to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to eat lunch at the Just Q’in BBQ restaurant 

Biden heaped praise on the Kentucky Republican, who has been at odds with former President Donald Trump since December 2020, when he refused to concede the presidential election to Biden. 

‘Mitch, it’s great to be with you,’ Biden said. ‘I asked permission if I could say something nice about him. … I said I’d campaign for or against him, whatever would help him the most,’ the president said to laughs. 

He gave credit to McConnell for getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill, passed in the Senate in August 2021, across the line. 

‘Leader McConnell and I don’t agree on everything. In fact we disagree on a lot of things, but here’s what matters – he’s a man of his word,’ Biden said. ‘When he gives you his word you can take it to the bank, you can count on it, and he’s willing to find common ground to get things done for the country. So thank you Mitch, thank you.’

Biden acknowledged that partisanship has gotten worse in the ‘last four or five years,’ describing the situation as ‘less than cooperative.’ 

Biden spoke from a platform located next to the Ohio river, with the Brent Spence Bridge and several other bridges hovering in the background and an old-fashioned riverboat floating nearby

Biden spoke from a platform located next to the Ohio river, with the Brent Spence Bridge and several other bridges hovering in the background and an old-fashioned riverboat floating nearby

President Joe Biden was joined by (from left) Kentucky's Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike Dewine, outgoing GOP Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

President Joe Biden was joined by (from left) Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike Dewine, outgoing GOP Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 

The bright light that Biden was marking Wednesday was that 19 Senate Republicans voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law – which will funnel $1.6billion to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Covington, Kentucky with Cincinnati, Ohio.

Another bridge, for local traffic, will also be constructed, to help alleviate ‘the second most congested truck bottleneck in the United States,’ Biden described. 

The president visited a Cincinnati restaurant – Just Q’in BBQ – with officials after his speech, to show how local businesses will be helped by better traffic flow. 

Biden ordered brisket, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, jalapeño cornbread, and peach cobbler, the White House said. 

‘It’s really good. Seriously,’ he said diving into the peach cobbler.  

President Joe Biden poses for a picture with a t-shirt from Just Q'in BBQ in Cincinnati, Ohio after speaking about the bipartisan infrastructure law - and building bridges - across the river in Covington, Kentucky

President Joe Biden poses for a picture with a t-shirt from Just Q’in BBQ in Cincinnati, Ohio after speaking about the bipartisan infrastructure law – and building bridges – across the river in Covington, Kentucky 

President Joe Biden (right) eats peach cobbler at a Cincinnati restaurant alongside Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (left)

President Joe Biden (right) eats peach cobbler at a Cincinnati restaurant alongside Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (left) 

President Joe Biden looks at his food order at Just Q'in BBQ in Cincinnati after speaking across the river in Kentucky about a bridge project funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law

President Joe Biden looks at his food order at Just Q’in BBQ in Cincinnati after speaking across the river in Kentucky about a bridge project funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law 

A parton reacts to President Joe Biden showing up for lunch at Just Q'in BBQ in Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon during a trip to both Ohio and Kentucky

A parton reacts to President Joe Biden showing up for lunch at Just Q’in BBQ in Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon during a trip to both Ohio and Kentucky 

President Joe Biden (right) eats alongside Cincinnati's Mayor Aftab Puerva (left) during a lunch stop Wednesday

President Joe Biden (right) eats alongside Cincinnati’s Mayor Aftab Puerva (left) during a lunch stop Wednesday 

President Joe Biden talks to workers at Just Q'in BBQ in Cincinnati, Ohio following his speech in Covington, Kentucky alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

President Joe Biden talks to workers at Just Q’in BBQ in Cincinnati, Ohio following his speech in Covington, Kentucky alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 

Overall, the bill allocated $40billion to go toward rebuilding the nation’s crumbling bridges. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are also traveling this week to tout bridge projects, the White House said. 

Biden spoke from a platform located next to the Ohio river, with the Brent Spence Bridge and several other bridges hovering in the background and an old-fashioned riverboat floating nearby. 

During his opening moments onstage in Covington, Biden noted how Rep.-elect Greg Landsmen was supposed to be joining them but couldn’t make the trip due to having to be on Capitol Hill for additional speaker votes. 

‘He couldn’t be here today. He’s dealing with trying to figure out who’s going to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives,’ Biden said to laughs. ‘And I wish him a lot of luck.’ 

‘He may be the freshman ever elected speaker of the House of Representatives,’ the president joked. 

President Joe Biden called the Capitol Hill chaos over the speakership 'embarrassing' as he left Wednesday for a bipartisan event in Kentucky with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

President Joe Biden called the Capitol Hill chaos over the speakership ’embarrassing’ as he left Wednesday for a bipartisan event in Kentucky with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Talking to reporters on the South Lawn, Biden called the speaker’s fight ‘not my problem.’    

‘I just think it’s a little embarrassing it’s taking so long,’ Biden said after GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, long expected to be elected House speaker, couldn’t get to a majority Tuesday after three rounds of voting. 

By the time Biden departed Kentucky, it was nearing six failed votes.  

The president added that ‘the rest of the world is looking, they’re looking at, you know, can we get our act together,’ noting that ‘this is not a good look, this is not a good thing’ for the country. 

Biden answered ‘no’ to the question of whether he enjoyed seeing the House Republicans in disarray and pointed out that things are finally settling down after January 6 only for Congress to be paralyzed – as the Tuesday votes marked the first time in 100 years that a speaker wasn’t immediately chosen. 

‘It’s not a good look, it’s not a good thing. This is the United States of America, and I hope they get their act together,’ he said. 

President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for this trip to Kentucky Wednesday, to tout bipartisanship, as the House is still embroiled in drama over who will become the next speaker

President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for this trip to Kentucky Wednesday, to tout bipartisanship, as the House is still embroiled in drama over who will become the next speaker 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (left) ascent to the speakership was derailed Tuesday when ultimately 20 Republicans decided to back Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (right) instead. Jordan was set to take over the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee 

Without a speaker, members of the House of Representatives can’t be sworn-in and no business can be conducted. 

‘I have no idea,’ Biden answered when asked who he thought the speaker would be. 

Biden was flying to Kentucky to tout the bipartisan infrastructure law where he’ll appear alongside the other top Republican in Congress, McConnell. 

Also flying on Air Force One was former Portman, the Ohio Republican whose seat went to the Trump-backed author J.D. Vance, who was sworn-in with the rest of his colleagues Tuesday. 

‘What I am focused on is getting things done,’ Biden said at departure. ‘And one of the things I’m going down to Kentucky and Ohio today is to demonstrate we can get things done. We passed an enormous bill, bipartisan-ly and it works.’

‘You can’t be the No. 1 economy in the world unless you have the No. 1 infrastructure in the world,’ he added. 

When asked specifically why Kentucky Biden answered, ‘We worked like hell to get the most significant infrastructure bill in our history of the United States other than the Eisenhower interstate highway system.’ 

It’s been suggested that Biden standing alongside McConnell was the splitscreen moment the White House wanted as shenanigans continue in the House.  

‘Look, I think our administration has begun to move the economy where we’re investing in America again. How can you remain the leading economy in the world absent having the greatest infrastructure in the world?’ Biden mused.

He also suggested that the drama was ultimately Congress’ problem when asked if he was concerned about his ability to govern with the House lacking a speaker.

‘Not me,’ he replied. ‘Congress to govern.’ 

McCarthy’s speakership bid has been derailed by 20 rogue members who represent the more conservative, pro-MAGA side of the Republican Party. 

On the third vote, they coalesced around Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who has said he doesn’t want the speakership and is content with taking over the House Judiciary Committee from Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler. 

That has left the party in a stalemate, with both the pro-McCarthy faction and the ‘Never Kevins’ digging in. 

On Wednesday morning, former President Donald Trump also called the situation ‘EMBARRASSING’ on his Truth Social platform. 

‘Some really good conversations took place last night, and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY, & WATCH CRAZY NANCY PELOSI FLY BACK HOME TO A VERY BROKEN CALIFORNIA,THE ONLY SPEAKER IN U.S. HISTORY TO HAVE LOST THE “HOUSE” TWICE!’ the ex-president wrote. ‘REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.’ 

‘IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!’ Trump added.  



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