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McConnell mum on guns as U.S. Senate recesses for a week

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in Kentucky this week, saying little about potential legislation to address mass shootings like last week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

During a Rotary Club event in Maysville on Tuesday, McConnell talked about Ukraine, inflation and his predictions for Republicans at the ballot box during this year’s midterm elections.

But McConnell didn’t say anything about the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead during his prepared remarks. It was only after reporters chased him down after the event that McConnell said he was in favor of a solution that “targets the problem, which is mental illness and school safety.”

“We’ll get back next week and hope to have some results,” McConnell said, according to a video posted by LEX 18 reporter Karolina Buczeck.

Last week, McConnell told CNN that he had instructed Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn to work with Democrats on a bipartisan compromise, but provided no specifics on a potential solution.

The Senate is not in session this week because of the Memorial Day holiday.

McConnell’s response to the Uvalde shooting hearkens back to 2019, when he hinted at a compromise on a so-called “red flag” law and expanded background checks in the wake of shootings in Dayton and El Paso. McConnell, who was the Senate majority leader at the time, dropped the issue about a month later.

During the event in Maysville, McConnell predicted Republicans would win back control of the Senate during the midterm elections this year, and said that voters are fine with having a closely divided government.

“I think what the American people are saying is ‘we’re not going to give either side total control of the government. And so, what we’d like for you to do is find things we can agree on, and do those,’” McConnell said.

McConnell also talked about his recent trip to Ukraine, saying he wanted to show that GOP leaders still support aiding Ukraine and the NATO alliance, despite recent statements and actions from Republicans.

“There is some isolationist sentiment in my party that I think is wrong-headed, and I wanted to push against it,” McConnell said.

“A lot of the Europeans saw it during the previous administration, that Republicans were not that interested in the NATO alliance anymore, and were not quite sure that it was so important. And I wanted to push back against that feeling as well.”

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues,Ryland'sreporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
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