Conservatives Groups Are Going To War Against McConnell

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Thomas Phippen Acting Editor-In-Chief
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Conservative groups are calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resignation with increased vigor over what they see as a betrayal of America’s wishes.

The Senate under McConnell’s leadership has “continued to fail to pass conservative policies even since President [Donald] Trump has assumed office,”  former Virginia Attorney General and president of the Senate Conservatives Fund Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday at a press conference at conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks’ Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Cuccinelli and five conservative groups want McConnell and his team of Republican Senate leaders to resign as soon as possible in order to make way for those who would advance conservative policies.

“It is time for you and your leadership team to step aside, for new leadership that is committed to the promises made to the American people. America is too good for you to lead it,” the groups write in a Wednesday letter sent to McConnell and the four other Senate Republican leaders.

The three and a half page letter lays out the a case against McConnell and his “Gang of 5 leadership team,” including Sens. John Cornyn, Roy Blunt, John Thune, John Barrasso.

You and the rest of your leadership team were given the majority because you pledged to stop the steady flow of illegal immigration. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the out-of-control deficit spending that is bankrupting America. You have done nothing. You promised to repeal Obamacare, “root and branch.” You have done nothing. You promised tax reform. You have done nothing.

You don’t even show up for work.

Trump and the House of Representatives, the groups say, have done their part to take advantage of the Republican Party’s hegemony over the legislative and executive branches, but the Senate leadership has obstructed the movement at every step of the way.

“He failed to repeal Obamacare with his majority in the Senate,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said. “The House has passed the REINS Act and the Financial CHOICE Act, but McConnell is exerting no energy to get those to the floor for a vote.”

McConnell’s approval rating is dismal, as David Bozell, president of For America, pointed out. In McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, he has an 18 percent approval rating, and nationwide his approval rating is 9 percent. “If this was a football team and you’ve lost this many times, you’d start seriously considering firing the coaches. When a corporate enterprise sees its stock sinking like a stone, the board fires the CEOs to stop the bleeding,” Bozell said.

Most of the leaders demurred when asked who could replace McConnell as majority leader. Should McConnell resign or be removed, “it’s up to the caucus to pick leaders who don’t loathe their own grassroots, who are willing to lead and keep the promises … that virtually their entire caucus has made,” Cuccinelli said.

Republicans frequently point to the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch as an accomplishment, but the federal bench currently has more than 100 open seats, more than when Trump took office. “The Senate only confirmed six judicial nominees not named Gorsuch,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots said.

If McConnell doesn’t step aside to let in new leadership, conservative groups promise to fight any candidate backed by McConnell. They did as much last month in the Alabama special election Republican Senate primary between incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and Roy Moore. Moore, backed by grassroots conservatives and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, defeated Strange (who also had Trump’s endorsement) to be the GOP nominee.

Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center and one of the signers of the letter, said he has approached Bannon to work against McConnell’s candidates. Bannon has become the face of anti-McConnell activism. Bozell said he has a McConnell litmus test for any candidate for Senate. “If you pledge to support Mitch McConnell on this, I want nothing to do with you,” Bozell said. “If you pledge to go for a new leader, a new conservative leader, then I’ll consider supporting you.”

Brandon said he predicts Republicans up for election in the next few years to put the blame for the lack of success on Democrats. “That’s not an excuse. You can’t blame Democrats for this one,” Brandon said.

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