His Lieutenant Twink John Thune rose to his defense.
Senate Republicans let their fury and frustration out at one another during a lengthy closed-door meeting that revealed the bitter feelings left over from a crushingly disappointing midterm election.An at-times nasty and personal discussion took place at the Senate GOP lunch, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who have been at odds for months, traded recriminations over who was to blame for the GOP’s failure to win back the Senate.
The biggest fireworks came after McConnell stood up at one point in the meeting and observed that while he heard a lot of criticism of his leadership style, no one had yet announced any plan to challenge him for the job of Republican leader.
Scott, the chairman of the Senate campaign arm, then interjected to say that he planned to challenge McConnell at Wednesday morning’s leadership election, catching many of his GOP colleagues by surprise, according to a Republican source familiar with the conversation in the room.
McConnell quickly cut Scott off, telling him to wait his turn to speak. Then things really got heated.
McConnell accused Scott of mismanaging his job at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and of mischaracterizing the record of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with McConnell that poured tens of millions of dollars in a slew of key races, according to the source familiar with the confrontational exchange.
Scott then heatedly criticized McConnell for not putting out an agenda before the election and keeping his own leadership team in the dark.
“I’ve never seen Scott so fired up. It was a very impassioned, very direct confrontation with McConnell that McConnell did not expect,” said another person who witnessed the tense back-and-forth between senators. “It started off tense and it got very acrimonious.”
Scott’s comment didn’t sit well with Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), however, who pushed back hard, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
…Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Senate Republican campaign arm wasted money, its digital effort wasted money, the committee didn’t spend enough on independent expenditures and praised McConnell for raising huge amounts of money for Senate GOP incumbents and challengers, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
Jodi Ernst, who needs to be primaried, of course supported McConnell, and then offered herself to serve in Senate leadership as one of his lieutenants. Cruz and Braun continued criticizing him. Cruz insisted the vote must be delayed until next month.
Related: Now is the time to boot failed GOP leaders, not bicker about Trump vs. DeSantis. Agreed. We’ll have to get to Trump vs. DeSantis soon enough, but we have two years for that.
We need to sort our our McConnell Problem now.
Forget about the Trump versus DeSantis question for a minute. Right now, the far more important and pressing task at hand is to hold Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, and other GOP leaders like Rep. Tom Emmer, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, accountable for their massive failures this election cycle.
Any time wasted speculating on the 2024 primary is time not spent talking about McConnell’s dereliction of duty as the leader of the GOP — not just his horrible funding decisions during the midterms but also the past two years of facilitating President Biden’s agenda.
As my colleague Tristan Justice argued in these pages last week, McConnell didn’t just prioritize his allies over winning a majority in the midterms, long before the cycle began he capitulated to Biden’s agenda, helping to raise the debt limit, pass a massive infrastructure package, and facilitate a CHIPS Act that benefits corrupt special interests. McConnell’s success in appointing federal judges is admirable and will stand as his legacy, but now that Democrats have secured a Senate majority that legacy might well be eclipsed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has proven just as adept as McConnell at confirming judges.
I mentioned yesterday:
Mollie Hemingway made a great point on Laura Ingraham last night. Someone pointed out how much we owe Mitch McConnell for getting conservative judges confirmed, but Mollie Hemingway rebutted that.
Schumer, she pointed out, does the same thing with liberal judges, and delivers on liberal wish-list legislation, and manages to not wage war against most of the party and avoids spending money to defeat them in primaries and eschews working with the Deep State to undermine a President of his own party he doesn’t like but whom the American people elected.
With McConnell, it’s only the first one — and we’re supposed to be content with that.
Obama years, Dems kept the Senate and lost the House in 2010.
Trump years, Reps kept the Senate and lost the House in 2018.
Biden years (illegit as they are), Dems kept the Senate and lost the House in 2022.
THIS IS NORMAL.