A conservative group wants senators to remove the GOP majority leader from his leadership post amid his a war of words with President Trump.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, a longtime foe of Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.), is urging supporters this week to pressure Senate Republicans “to replace him now.”
“Mitch McConnell is making excuses and blaming others while the Senate is on a month-long recess. The problem isn’t that the president hasn’t been in his job very long; it’s that McConnell has been in his job for too long!” the conservative group said in a blast to supporters.
McConnell said at a Rotary Club event in Kentucky earlier this week that Trump’s “excessive expectations” were partly to blame for the narrative that Republicans hadn’t accomplished anything.
“Our new president has of course not been in this line of work before and I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell said, speaking on recent healthcare efforts.
The Senate Conservatives Fund said that it “isn’t unreasonable to expect Republicans to keep their promises” and McConnell promised for years to repeal Obamacare “root and branch.”
“Now is the time to replace Mitch McConnell. Not next year. Not in 2020. Right now. Otherwise, Republicans will squander this historic opportunity to enact conservative reforms,” the group shared in a blog post Thursday.
The push to remove McConnell comes amid growing frustration from conservatives, as well as Trump, over the inability for Senate Republicans to nix the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. The Senate fell one vote short in a dramatic vote last month on a repeal bill.
Trump appeared to threaten McConnell on Thursday, suggesting the Kentucky Republican could consider stepping down as majority leader if he isn’t able to pass GOP agenda items including healthcare, tax reform and infrastructure.
The president also lashed out at McConnell in a string of tweets this week, appearing to blame him for the healthcare setback.
But any push to unseat McConnell faces an uphill and all-but-impossible bid. Senate Republicans remain loyal to the Kentucky Republican, who is well-respected in the caucus and was reelected unanimously as leader late last year.
More than a dozen GOP senators have publicly offered support for McConnell during the feud this week with Trump.
But the Senate Conservatives Fund is urging supporters to send an email to GOP senators saying that “sometimes we need to set friendships aside to do what is best for the country.”
“Instead of accepting responsibility for his failures like good leaders do, Senator McConnell is making excuses and criticizing others for having unrealistic expectations — expectations that he himself set over the past several years,” the form email says.
The fight with Trump isn’t the first time McConnell, who has a reputation as a dealmaker, has been targeted by conservatives.
In 2014, the Senate Conservatives Fund ran ads against McConnell, including one accusing him of “trying to bully and intimidate conservatives.”
The group also urged Republicans to replace McConnell late last month after the failed healthcare vote.
McConnell and his allies, meanwhile, haven’t backed down from warning they will seek to influence GOP primaries in an effort to stop a repeat of 2010 and 2012, when some weak conservative candidates defeated rivals from the GOP establishment in party primaries only to lose general elections.
“We intend to play in primaries if there’s a clear choice between someone who can win in November and someone who can’t,” McConnell told reporters earlier this year.
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