In a room filled with the country’s most powerful people, for 15 minutes only two of them mattered: Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.
The Senate majority leader and newly sworn-in president engaged in an animated and close conversation — with the often subdued McConnell doing most of the talking. McConnell even booted Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) from his seat next to Trump to secure face time at the opulent post-inaugural lunch of lobster, steak and chocolate souffle.
“Our president has surmounted a remarkable challenge getting to this moment. He’s been underestimated often but he never let it stop him,” McConnell (R-Ky.), flashing a rare grin, said later of Trump.
The serious-looking one-on-one showed that business was already underway on a day filled with pageantry, protests and bipartisan glad-handing. McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), also spent an extended period of time speaking to Trump, though the talk occurred in a larger group that included Melania Trump and Blunt’s wife, Abby.