Mitch McConnell Faces Another Blow with Jeff Flake’s Resignation

Jeff Flake, Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) faced another blow to his leadership with Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) announcement on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term in 2018.

Mitch McConnell lost another crucial ally in Sen. Flake, who announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term in 2018. Flake frequently criticized President Donald Trump. McConnell also lost key allies in Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who will also resign at the end of his term in 2018, and Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), who lost a primary runoff against conservative candidate Roy Moore.

Flake took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to lament that the Republican party no longer values immigration. “It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, devoted to free trade, pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party,” Flake said, his voice trembling with emotion.

McConnell’s leadership continues to flounder; a recent poll revealed that 56 percent of Republicans want Mitch McConnell to resign. Many Senate Republican candidates revealed that they are reluctant to back McConnell for Majority Leader. Even Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, whom McConnell’s team labeled as their “number one recruit,” refused to say whether he will endorse McConnell.

Mitch McConnell caved under populist pressure and decided to extend the Senate workweek to confirm the nearly 200 Trump executive and judicial nominees and pass vital legislation such as tax reform. Yet many Senate Republicans argue that the Senate needs to stay open 24/7 to accomplish this task.

Former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon, as well as conservative icon Laura Ingraham, appeared at a rally for Kelli Ward, the primary challenger to Sen. Flake.

Bannon is reportedly lining up a series of Republican primary candidates who will challenge every Senate Republican except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Bannon was one of many conservatives that backed Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore won the Republican primary runoff election in late September despite only having $1-2 million in support against Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked candidate’s tens of millions.

Just hours before Moore won the election, Sen. Bob Corker announced he would not run for re-election.

“Jeff Flake stands, on almost every issue, diametrically opposed to President Trump. He voted for a guy who he knew couldn’t get elected president because he despised the Trump agenda so much,” said Ingraham. She pointed out that it meant he was “willing to lose the Supreme Court for a generation or more to stop Donald Trump.”

The Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned group, spent over $10,000 attacking Kelli Ward, claiming that Ward was open to a conspiracy theory about “chemtrails,” using money that could have been spent on electing Republicans.

During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he said he would consider spending $10 million to back a challenger to Flake.

Dr. Kelli Ward tweeted on Tuesday that Arizona voters are the real winners with Sen. Flake’s resignation.


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