Mitch McConnell’s No. 1 Recruit Josh Hawley Refuses to Back McConnell for Majority Leader

McConnell under Dome Win McNameeGetty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who was labeled Mitch McConnell’s “No. One recruit of the [2018] cycle” refuses to endorse McConnell for Majority Leader.

Former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News chief executive Steve Bannon reportedly remains very interested in recruiting Hawley in his war against the establishment, which includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell reportedly first urged Hawley to run for the 2018 midterms.

Josh Holmes, McConnell’s former chief of staff, said that Hawley was one of the establishment Republicans’ first choices for the 2018 midterm election.

“He was our No. 1 recruit of the cycle,” Holmes charged. “We worked our tail off to recruit Josh Hawley.”

Now, McConnell’s top recruit, Josh Hawley, will not commit to voting for Mitch McConnell if elected to the Senate in 2018. Hawley’s spokesman, Scott Paradise, responded in an email questioning whether Hawley would back the McConnell.

“The Senate is broken and failing the people of Missouri,” Paradise wrote.

“Josh is running because he is not willing to tolerate the failure of the D.C. establishment any longer,” Paradise added. “He won’t tolerate Claire McCaskill’s failure. And he won’t tolerate Republican failure, either.”

Paradise did not respond to a followup as to whether Hawley considers McConnell part of the Washington establishment. Mitch McConnell, as Majority Leader, has failed twice to repeal and replace Obamacare, to pass a tax reform package, to confirm over 200 Trump executive and judicial nominees, and to fund a wall to secure the border.

Josh Holmes did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News regarding Hawley’s non-endorsement of Mitch McConnell.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that he understands Bannon’s frustration with Senate Republicans.

“Steve is very committed. He’s a friend of mine, and he is very committed getting things passed,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday when asked about Bannon’s decision to challenge establishment Senate Republicans opposed to the president’s agenda.

“I’m not going to blame myself, to be honest; they aren’t getting the job done,” Trump added.

McConnell has come under fire from conservatives, including Tea Party Patriots’ Jenny Beth Martin, Ken Cuccinelli of the Senate Conservatives Fund, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon. The Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks, and the Senate Conservatives Fund called for Mitch McConnell and the rest of Senate leadership to resign over their failure to repeal Obamacare, confirm Trump’s executive and judicial nominees, and fund a border wall.

Establishment Republicans and their operatives continue to reportedly panic over Bannon’s recent strategy to line up a series of anti-establishment, populist candidates to challenge Republicans who have not pushed for Trump’s agenda. Bannon will reportedly primary every Senate Republican up for reelection in 2018 outside of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Bannon also met with many Republican mega donors who are frustrated by the establishment Republicans’ inability to pass the Trump agenda, or pass anything resembling a conservative agenda.

Andy Surabian, a former White House adviser and now a senior adviser to the pro-Trump super PAC Great America Alliance, said,“The Republican establishment is so hollow and lacking in ideas that they’re almost forced to try and latch onto our slate of populist-conservatives and call them their own to survive.”

Surabian added, “If the McConnell Industrial Complex inside the Beltway wants us to believe that these candidates are with Mitch, then they should tell us which of them are publicly aligning themselves under the McConnell flag and supporting him for majority leader.”

Surabian, who works with Bannon, called McConnell a “toxic substance in a Republican primary” and said that “candidates are flocking to be aligned with Bannon because they understand that the power in the Republican Party now lies in its America First, anti-establishment wing.”


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