After a disappointing showing for Republicans in the midterms — particularly in the Senate — Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has made clear his intent to wrest the position of minority leader from long-time leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Former President Donald Trump has blasted McConnell on several occasions, accusing him of yielding ground to progressive Democrats. Last week, he accused the senator of being responsible for losses in the midterms.
Trump posted a scathing indictment on his Truth Social platform:
“It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake. Giving 4 Trillion Dollars to the Radical Left for the Green New Deal, not Infrastructure, was an even bigger mistake.”
Trump added: “He blew the Midterms, and everyone despises him.”
McConnell has served in the Senate since 2003.
Scott and McConnell were not in agreement regarding party strategy in the midterms. Though Scott Chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, McConnell controls much of the spending through his affiliated PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.
Scott has joined Trump in accusing McConnell of poor decision-making regarding allocating funds to ensure Republican wins.
Looking to change the future, Scott wrote to his colleagues: “I’m writing to you today because I believe it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be far more bold and resolute than we have been in the past. We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against.”
Alayna Treene, a congressional reporter for Axios, tweeted a copy of the letter:
“I’m not satisfied with the status quo,” Scott said later to reporters, adding, “And so I think we ought to have an option.”
Some Senate Republicans expressed skepticism regarding Scott’s chances of unseating the veteran politician and told the Washington Examiner they doubted a challenge to McConnell would be successful.
“Well, I don’t know,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND). “I mean, I like Rick a lot, I think he’s a great senator. But if you’re going to assess blame for election losses, I don’t think you trade in the leader for the chairman of the NRSC. That’s just sort of basic to me. And I like him, he’s a good NRSC chairman, but I think it’s not likely.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said, “Mitch McConnell will be the leader. I support him.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham added, “I don’t really see that. I do see us taking a deep breath.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for delaying Wednesday’s election to confirm leadership positions in the Senate until after the December 6 Georgia State runoff election.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed, saying: “I just think that with Georgia outstanding, I would like to finish 2022. In terms of leadership elections, it’s not about niches so much as we don’t even know who’s in the conference. We have to figure out what went wrong and why the results were so disappointing.”
Referencing Trump’s anticipated Tuesday evening announcement regarding running for president in 2024, Graham added: “I think most people in the conference would prefer President Trump not to announce tonight, and I think most Republicans would prefer for us to not have these elections.”
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