Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has braced himself against America First Republicans who oppose renewing his Senate leadership position after the 2022 midterms.
While at least two GOP Senate candidates have publicly stated they will oppose McConnell’s leadership bid in the new Congress, McConnell told CNN on Tuesday he will wait to “see what happens” after the midterms before crowning himself leader.
If McConnell is selected to lead the Senate Republicans in 2023, he would go down in history as the longest-serving Senate party leader. But opposition has mounted to McConnell’s automatic appointment from America First Senate candidates in Missouri and Alaska.
Missouri candidate Eric Greitens and Trump-backed Alaskan candidate Kelly Tshibaka have both declared they would not support McConnell for GOP leader if they win in November.
Though McConnell has not yet actively fought Greitens with PAC money, he was vocal about his support for Tshibaka’s opponent, establishment Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Murkowski voted to impeach Donald Trump and enabled Biden’s radical agenda multiple times with McConnell in 2021.
“We’re going to be all in Alaska helping Lisa, and that’s one place where the former President and I have a disagreement,” he told CNN about supporting Murkowski with large PAC donations.
“All I’ll say about Missouri at this point is we’re keeping our eye on it,” McConnell added. “Missouri is potentially challenging depending on the outcome in the primary.”
Not many America First GOP Senate candidates have said outright they’d vote against McConnell, perhaps hoping to avoid McConnell’s PAC opposition in a Republican primary.
But other Republicans have voiced frustration that during McConnell’s tenure as leader, the nation has not fared well.
Throughout McConnell’s leadership, the national debt has grown by over $20 trillion, illegal immigration has continued, and real wages for American workers have remained stagnant since the 1970s. Obamacare was enacted in 2010.
Big banks were bailed out in 2008, and social media companies have silenced individuals without repercussions. Dr. Anthony Fauci has not been held accountable for allegedly lying twice to Congress.
A December poll revealed McConnell’s approval rating among Republicans was 41 percent, while Donald Trump’s, the leader of the America First movement, was more than double that at 83 percent.
“How this guy can stay as Leader is beyond comprehension—this is coming not only from me, but from virtually everyone in the Republican Party,” Trump wrote in December. “He is a disaster and should be replaced as ‘Leader’ ASAP!”
Overall, McConnell’s interview with CNN conveyed he does not oppose America First candidates in Nevada and Georgia. McConnell also revealed he is satisfied with the Senate GOP fields in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Defeating Democrats in all competitive States will be a difficult task for McConnell. The GOP is defending more Senate seats than the Democrats, which consumes resources and time.
When McConnell was asked about the chances of retaking the Senate and becoming Senate leader again, he told CNN it was 50/50.
“I still say it’s 50-50,” McConnell estimated. “I think from an atmospheric point of view it’s highly likely to be a situation where the wind is at our backs.”
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to read that the national debt has increased by $20 trillion during McConnell’s leadership, previously stated as $20 billion.