Conservative Leaders Call for Mitch McConnell to Step Down

Brent Bozell and other long-term activists on the Right say Republican leaders in the Senate should resign

by Jim Stinson | Updated 11 Oct 2017 at 6:16 PM

It just keeps getting worse for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

A group of top conservative activists have asked the Senate’s five top Republican leaders to step down from their leadership posts. The pent-up frustrations boiled over on Wednesday, leading the conservatives to ask for a leadership house cleaning.

The request is sure to further inflame tensions between the Republican base and GOP senators, who famously failed to deliver on the repeal of Obamacare in July and September after seven years of promises.

The activists calling for a leadership change included Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center; Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots; Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund; David Bozell, president of the ForAmerica political action committee; Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks; and Richard A. Viguerie, the longtime conservative activist and direct-mail wizard.

The activists called for Sen. McConnell (R-Ky.) to step down as majority leader; Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to step down as majority whip; and for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Mont.) to step down as McConnell's GOP leadership team members.

"2017 has been a disappointing year for the millions of Americans who fully expected, and had every right to expect real change in Washington," the leaders said in a statement. "Republicans were given full control of the federal government. They — you — have done nothing. Worse, it is painfully clear that you intend to do nothing because, as is most apparent, you had no intention of honoring your solemn commitments to the American people. You were not going to 'drain the swamp.' You are the swamp."

The leaders said the Senate has been less efficient than the House of Representatives at passing as much of the conservative agenda as possible in the first year of President Donald Trump's first term. They repeated complaints, frequently made by House members, that the Senate is sitting on 200 bills, all while keeping a lazy schedule.

"The American people work eight to 10 to 12 hours daily," the leaders wrote. "How hard do their elected representatives work? On this, the 282nd day of 2017, you all have barely worked more than 100 days!  And many of those 'days' count coming in for a vote or two at 5:30 p.m. Many Americans celebrated 'Columbus Day.' What would they think if they knew — if you told them — you have arranged it so you and your colleagues celebrate 'Columbus Week?'"

The remarkable request from the Bozells, Martin and others comes as relations between the Senate and the rest of the Republican base, including the White House, decay. And it comes just days after Trump lashed out at Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Twitter. Corker has made noise of late about not supporting tax reform unless it cuts the deficit. Corker has also criticized the president's management style.

The press conference also comes as Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, prepares to wage war on a number of Republican incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections. Bannon has claimed, since leaving the White House, that McConnell is the largest Capitol Hill impediment to Trump's agenda.

The press conference also comes after Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff spoke to the Republican National Committee on October 3. In that speech, Nick Ayers even mentioned the idea of a "purge" if lawmakers do not get behind the Trump agenda.

Ayers said if the Senate does not act faster, the Republican Party will lose many seats in the 2018 midterm elections.

(photo credit, homepage image: Mitch McConnell, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore; photo credit, article image: Mitch McConnell,  CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Brent BozellCC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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