Exclusive — Chris McDaniel Calls Out ‘McConnell Yes Man’ Roger Wicker for ‘Playing Political Games’

Chris McDaniel promises a victory against Sen. Thad Cochran to a late night audience Tuesd
AP Photo/George Clark

Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel, a likely 2018 GOP U.S. Senate candidate in his home state, is calling out establishment incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) for refusing to say whether he thinks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should do more to confront Republicans standing in the way of the president.

McDaniel, who is likely to run against Wicker, is calling Wicker out for not going far enough in denouncing establishment Republicans in the U.S. Senate who are not just standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s agenda but are now personally insulting the president.

Wicker criticized Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) for attacking Trump on Tuesday, which Wicker did both on CNN and in an exclusive in which he doubled down on criticizing Corker to Breitbart News in an exclusive follow-up.

But, as Breitbart News noted earlier, Wicker refused to answer two specific questions regarding McConnell’s role in Corker’s anti-Trump obstinance. First, Wicker refused to answer whether he believes McConnell is doing enough to rein in Corker—who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—in his battle with President Trump. Second, Wicker refused to answer whether he supports a convening of the Senate GOP conference to vote on removing Corker as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker’s and Trump’s feud escalated again Tuesday morning with the president and senator firing off a bunch of tweets at each other.

Now comes McDaniel with his response to what he believes is Wicker’s weak-kneed defense of the president, in his own exclusive with Breitbart News. McDaniel was not surprised that Wicker is standing in the way of President Trump and his agenda—and said if he really backed Trump he would stop backing McConnell and would support changing U.S. Senate rules to drop a 60-vote requirement to pass legislation. Right now, the so-called filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes to pass legislation and since Republicans only have a 52-seat majority the rule empowers a small sliver of eight Democrats—who are in the minority—to block any and all legislation.

“Wicker is just playing political games by trying to hide his role as a member of Mitch McConnell’s leadership team, as a McConnell ‘yes’ man,” McDaniel told Breitbart News when asked to respond to Wicker’s lackadaisical defense of the president. “If Wicker truly cared about the Trump agenda, then he would not obstruct President Trump by refusing to change the senate rules and eliminate the 60 vote filibuster requirement. He would also stop blindly supporting McConnell. But I’m not surprised by Wicker’s current charade. He’s facing the possibility of a serious primary challenge. It’s what the swamp creatures do when threatened — morph into political chameleons.”

McDaniel is likely to step up and challenge Wicker for the U.S. Senate, after he came just shy of defeating Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) back in 2014. In fact, among Republicans, McDaniel won the 2014 GOP primary runoff but Cochran only won because his political consultants engaged in chicanery to get Democrats to vote for Cochran in the runoff. McDaniel got more votes than Cochran overall in the first round of the primary, but because he was shy of 50 percent it was kicked to the runoff three weeks later. Many Mississippi voters still to this day believe, as the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters wrote from the state in a recent report, that the seat was stolen from McDaniel. Now, in 2017, Cochran has serious health problems that are raising—per multiple media reports—serious questions about whether he can actually continue the job as U.S. Senator and may end up resigning or retiring sooner rather than later do to incapability.

If Cochran resigns or retires, an appointment will be selected shortly thereafter by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant—and then a special election will follow soon after. It is a strong possibility that Bryant would appoint McDaniel into the seat, given the fact that many from Mississippi believe he rightly won the election in 2014 and that it might be able to stave off a looming McDaniel challenge of Wicker. Other names that come up on the short list from Mississippi, per sources with knowledge of these discussions, include Bryant appointing himself or Bryant appointing state Sen. Michael Watson. Watson and Bryant are both fellow conservatives like McDaniel, and would likely easily win re-election in the special election after the appointment. If Bryant appoints swamp-backed establishment figures like Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) or Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves–or anyone else like them–it is likely to set up another scenario like what just happened in neighboring Alabama where conservative Judge Roy Moore defeated appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a primary runoff.

Nonetheless, the staunchly pro-Trump McDaniel is expected for now to run against Wicker.

“With a Conservative Review score of 30 and a Heritage Action score of 52, he [Wicker] has a failing conservative record, so he needs to try to ride the president’s coattails,” McDaniel told Breitbart News. “But it’s not going to work this time. Our eyes are open. President Trump promised us he would drain the swamp. And one way or the other, I intend to help him keep his promise.”

Interestingly, in 2014, Trump endorsed McDaniel over Cochran in that primary. Trump has reportedly, however, called Wicker to tell him he would support him in a primary—something Trump has not yet said publicly.

It remains to be seen what Trump would do in this scenario, but he did try to help Strange in Alabama’s primary–a move that backfired, and one that seemed predicated on bad advice from none other than Corker among others.


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