Trump's Push to Oust McConnell Is Misfiring

Politico: Not a single Republican senator is on board
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2021 2:05 PM CST
Trump's Push to Oust McConnell Is Misfiring
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Donald Trump has escalated his attacks on Mitch McConnell of late, but Politico reports that the former president's push to oust McConnell as Senate Republican leader is fizzling. Not a single GOP senator has expressed support for the idea, and the story notes that only two GOP senatorial candidates (Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska and Eric Greitens in Missouri) have done so. Meanwhile, McConnell has voiced support for the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Coverage:

  • Trump: He has been fuming at McConnell since the latter didn't support overturning the election. On Thursday, Trump wrote: “How this guy can stay as Leader is beyond comprehension—this is coming not only from me, but from virtually everyone in the Republican Party. He is a disaster and should be replaced as ‘Leader’ ASAP!” Last week, Trump referred to McConnell as a "Broken Old Crow" who is a boon to Democrats, per Newsweek.

  • Response: Senate Republicans have met the anti-McConnell crusade with indifference, write Natalie Allison and Burgess Everett at Politico. "Inside the Capitol, conservative senators shrug at the question, revealing a lack of appetite even among the GOP's anti-establishment wing and continued strong support for McConnell as leader."
  • More fuel: McConnell's positive new comments about the House panel investigating the Capitol riot surely won't help his ties with Trump. "I think the fact-finding is interesting," he told Spectrum News, per the Washington Post. "We're all going to be watching it. It was a horrendous event, and I think what they're seeking to find out is something the public needs to know." The Post notes the contrast with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has denounced the panel as a political sham.
  • McConnell response: Asked about Trump's criticism of him in the same interview, McConnell shrugged it off. "I spend my time dealing with the present and the future, and not the past." On Thursday, when reporters tried to get him to talk about the subject, McConnell responded, "Good try."
  • One view: So why aren't Senate Republicans getting behind Trump? "Because despite Trump’s ire and fulminations, McConnell has played a tough hand in a 50/50 Senate rather well," writes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. He adds, referring to Trump's push: "The problem with this kind of political stunt is that its failure demonstrates impotence. If Trump really was a party leader, as Lindsey Graham claimed this week in asking McConnell to reconcile with him, he’d have the power to move votes on a leadership question. Instead, he hasn’t moved one."
(Read more Mitch McConnell stories.)

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