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EXCLUSIVE: Leaders? McConnell mum; Schumer “not commenting” on UFO whistleblower David Grusch
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EXCLUSIVE: Leaders? McConnell mum; Schumer “not commenting” on UFO whistleblower David Grusch

Ep. 28 — US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (7-26-2023), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (7-18-2023) & Ask a Pol’s Matt Laslo (all days)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses congressional press corps July 19, 2023. Photo: Matt Laslo

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to answer when Asked about UFO whistleblower David Grusch, the veteran and former US intelligence official who testified before the House Oversight Committee just last Wednesday, the 26th. 

Just a few hours after Grusch testified I bump into Leader Schumer and his usual entourage of security and people in unremarkable suits briskly rounding a decades-worn corner, just off the Senate floor. 

AUDIO: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s raw exchange with Ask a Pol (7-26-2023)

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“Mr. Leader, did you catch David Grutch’s testimony at all in the House today?” 

“No,” Schumer replied.  

“What do you make of his claims?” 

“I'm not commenting,” Schumer, now glaring, commented. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), January 2023. Photo: Matt Laslo

That was more than we got from McConnell.

AUDIO: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s raw exchange with Ask a Pol (7-18-2023):

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“Do you have any comments on whistleblower David Grusch?” I asked a couple weeks back.

McConnell shot a stare.

Then seven seconds of tangible silence.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after addressing press corps in Ohio Clock Corridor, July 19, 2023. Photo: Matt Laslo

McConnell doesn’t do hallway questions. So he usually doesn’t even validate an impromptu question with the decency of eye contact.

This time the question seemed to register.

Exclusives.

“Thank you, sir,” I say, before his assigned Black SUVs rush off to idle for hours. 

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), January 2023. Photo: Matt Laslo

McConnell and Me

I’ve sat one-on-one with McConnell as he gushed with memories from his days interning for his hero and mentor, former Kentucky Sen. John Sherman Cooper. I’ve also been scolded by him for, in front of the Washington press corps, pressing him on the slow progress of cleaning up mustard gas at the Blue Grass Army Depot (‘it doesn’t matter if I’m local or national—can you answer the question?’).  

I’ve covered his state’s horse racing industry, namely the debate over dirt vs. synthetic tracks. And, during COVID lockdowns, I broke news about McConnell taking meetings with local Kentucky artists My Morning Jacket and Sturgill Simpson, even as he was screwing over venues and artists from coast to coast. 

All that to say: McConnell knows me. We’ve talked. But those human moments are rare with him. His custom is to stare wide-eyed and blankly ahead, though occasionally, as I got on this occasion, McConnell made eye contact, grimaced and silently entered the Capitol. 

Matt Laslo is a veteran congressional correspondent and founder of Ask a Pol—your lawmakers, your questions, your Capitol. Find him on most social media @MattLaslo

We’re @Ask_a_Pol or @askpols on Insta.

Take typos up with Congress (and ping us, please! Our apologies in advance). 

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